Workplace Justice Visa

The Migration Amendment (Workplace Justice Visa) Regulations 2024 (the amendment
Regulations) amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to
implement a new workplace justice visa that enables a temporary migrant to remain in
Australia for a period of time to undertake a workplace justice activity.

The Workplace Justice Visa is one component of a range of measures that the Government
is introducing to address migrant worker exploitation following a commitment made at the
Jobs and Skills Summit. This commitment was made in response to serious concerns about
the corrosive impact of migrant worker exploitation, recognising the harm exploitation
causes to the migrant worker and their family. The commitment also recognised broader
concerns that if left unaddressed, migrant worker exploitation has the potential to put
downward pressure on wages and conditions for all workers and it creates an un-level
playing field for those businesses who do the right thing.

The package of reforms is informed by the findings of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce
report, the Nixon Review and the Migration Strategy. One of the overarching objectives of
these measures is to address migration-related barriers that have been identified as deterring
temporary migrant workers from reporting exploitation due to fears of adverse repercussions
on their visa status.

The Workplace Justice Visa has been informed by an extensive co-design process with a
range of practitioners experienced in supporting temporary migrants with workplace matters.
It has been designed to complement existing supports that enable non-citizen workers to
report exploitation and seek workplace justice, including through the proposed amendments
to strengthen reporting protections.

The Workplace Justice Visa operates as a new clause in the subclass 408 (Temporary
Activity) visa. Under policy, a Workplace Justice Visa may generally be granted for a period
to allow the holder the right to remain in Australia for a minimum period of 6 months or up
to 12 months (within a maximum available period of 4 years available under the Migration
Regulations). The visa is only available to temporary migrants in Australia, and who have
certification regarding their workplace exploitation matter from a participating government
entity or accredited non-government party. Workplace Justice Visa holders will be able to
work in order to support themselves while they pursue workplace justice. Members of their
family unit who are in Australia are also able to apply for this visa.

Implemented initially as a pilot, the Workplace Justice Visa will be available to a class of
persons determined in a legislative instrument made under the Migration Regulations. With
careful monitoring and ongoing engagement with participating certifying bodies, the class of
persons eligible may be adjusted throughout the life of the pilot to maximise opportunities to
achieve the overarching objective of improving workplace justice outcomes while managing
integrity risks. A legislative instrument will also set out which government or non government entities can certify workplace exploitation matters, supporting transparency
about participating third parties, and providing a framework for participation. The workplace
justice visa also provides a holder with work rights to ensure that they can maintain their
ability to support themselves during their stay.

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

7 Jul, 2024

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