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Reforms will combat migrant exploitation

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has expressed approval for the recent enactment of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023. This legislation brings to fruition several key recommendations from the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce, addressing longstanding concerns over the exploitation of migrant workers within Australia's migration system.

The bill introduces significant measures to combat the misuse of migrant labour by making it a criminal offense for employers to coerce migrant workers into violating their visa conditions or to exploit their migration status for financial gain. This shift in legislative focus aims to hold employers accountable for leveraging their power over vulnerable workers to enhance profits unethically.

Furthermore, the legislation empowers the Minister with the authority to impose a minimum five-year ban on employers found exploiting workers on temporary visas, serving as a deterrent to those considering such unfair practices.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil has publicly supported the government's efforts to safeguard migrant workers from exploitation and to enact the recommendations of the Migrant Worker Taskforce. O’Neil emphasized the negative impact of exploitation on all workers, particularly those in Australia on temporary visas, and highlighted the shift in the migration system towards a model that can, unfortunately, facilitate such exploitation. She stressed the importance of these legislative changes and the government's Migration Strategy for creating a fair and equitable working environment in Australia, where workers do not fear reporting exploitation due to potential repercussions on their visa status.

This legislation represents a significant advancement in protecting the rights and dignity of migrant workers in Australia, ensuring that exploitative practices are met with stringent penalties and fostering a more just and equitable labour market.

Source: Unions-welcome-additional-protections-for-migrant-workers_20240207-041546_1.pdf


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