ABF cracks down on businesses exploiting migrant workers

​The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to protect vulnerable workers on temporary visas after a decade of inaction from the former Liberal Government, today announcing the results of a month-long blitz on businesses exploiting migrant workers. 

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inspected around 300 businesses in every state and territory in the month of July. 

This blitz is on top of the 140 businesses that have been sanctioned in the first year of the Albanese Labor Government. The ABF targeted sponsoring businesses, issuing fines, bans and other sanctions to those who failed to uphold workplace rights, such as pay, conditions, health and safety. 

Under the former Minister, Peter Dutton visa rules were changed to restrict workers’ rights and immigration compliance shrank. The former Liberal Government sat on the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce report and never sought to address widespread exploitation like those uncovered at 7 Eleven. 

The Albanese Labor Government is looking ahead to further reform to improve the rights of migrant workers, and has introduced the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023, which includes equipping the ABF with new compliance tools to deter exploitation, scheduled to be debated in the House of Representatives today. 

Quotes attributable to Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles:

“The Albanese Labor Government is working to undo a decade of neglect when it comes to protecting migrant workers from exploitation- including under former Minister Dutton who failed to act on the recommendations of the Migrant Workers Taskforce.

“When migrant workers are being underpaid – it hurts all of us, driving wages and conditions down for everyone and under-cutting businesses who do the right thing. Currently, up to one in six recent migrants are paid less than the minimum wage.

“We’re taking immediate action to protect migrant workers, while looking ahead to future reform.

“Our Employer Compliance Bill will target dodgy employers who seek to underpay and exploit and help migrant workers speak up.” 

ABF cracks down on businesses exploiting migrant workers (homeaffairs.gov.au)

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

11 Sep, 2023

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