Aug 2018 | 'The big one is underpayment': new centre fights migrant workers' exploitation

Date: 5 Aug 2018

Source: The Guardian

A new centre designed to combat exploitation of migrants is yet to open, but it’s already hearing horror stories from overseas workers across a range of industries.

Set to officially open in August, the Melbourne-based centre will provide assistance to workers on temporary and permanent visas, and conduct training and outreach to inform migrants about their work rights.

“The big one is underpayment,” the Migrant Workers Centre director, Matt Kunkel, told Guardian Australia.

“We’ve heard of people on wages as low as $11 or $8 [an hour] as a flat rate. In some cases people don’t know they’re being ripped off. In other cases they know but they don’t know what to do about it.”

Kunkel spoke to Guardian Australia on the same day the Fair Work ombudsman announced it had retrieved almost $472,000 in owed wages from 243 businesses in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.