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A Warning to Sponsors

Aug 6, 2023 | AUS | 0 comments

Adhering to Sponsorship Obligations and Employment Laws

In a statement released on Wednesday 2 August 2023, Minister Andrew Giles highlighted the Government’s commitment to safeguarding workers on temporary visas.

The government recently completed a month-long crackdown in July on businesses that exploit migrant workers, with Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inspecting approximately 300 businesses.

The Government has taken action against 140 businesses and has issued fines, bans, and other sanctions to those who violated workplace rights, including pay, conditions, health, and safety.

Minister Giles also emphasised that under the former Minister Peter Dutton, visa rules were changed, limiting workers’ rights and shrinking immigration compliance efforts. He also mentioned that the previous Liberal Government ignored the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce report and neglected to address widespread exploitation.

Looking ahead, the Government aims to further enhance the rights of migrant workers. It introduced the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023 to the House of Representatives on 2 August 2023 which provides the ABF with new compliance tools to deter exploitation.

In Minister Giles’ words, “The Albanese Labor Government is actively rectifying a decade of neglect in protecting migrant workers from exploitation, especially in light of former Minister Dutton’s failure to act on the Migrant Workers Taskforce recommendations. The exploitation of migrant workers not only harms them but also undermines wages and conditions for everyone and adversely affects businesses that operate ethically. We are taking swift measures to protect migrant workers and are committed to future reforms. Our Employer Compliance Bill targets unscrupulous employers who seek to underpay and exploit workers and empowers migrant workers to raise their voices.”

The message we urge sponsors to take from this news is that it is imperative that businesses employing foreign workers comply with both migration and employment laws, as there may be serious consequences for any breach.