Aug 2018 | Turnbull must act on broken work visa system after shocking wage theft allegations

Date: 2 Aug 2018 

Source: ACTU

Allegations of shocking wage theft from a chef in Nowra on the New South Wales south coast have raised serious questions about exploitation of people on temporary work visas and the inadequacy of the laws that are meant to protect the rights of all people working in Australia.

Indian national Midhun Basi came to Australia on a 457 visa. Mr Midhun says he was paid less than the legal minimum for a 38-hour week, and worked more than 70 hours a week in the restaurant over a period of 18 months. It’s estimated by South Coast Labour Council that if the claims are proven Mr Basi could be owed up to $220,000 in unpaid wages.

It’s also alleged that during his time at the restaurant Mr Basi was required to give cash to his employer which his employer said was to cover rent and bills at the restaurant.

This case is the latest in a series of high-profile wage theft allegations in the hospitality industry around the country.

Workers who come to Australia on temporary visas like Mr Midhun’s are uniquely vulnerable to exploitation, due to their isolation in the community and an employer’s ability to effectively cancel their visa by firing them.