The Migrant Workers Centre welcomes the passage of amendments to the Migration Act that introduce new protections for migrant workers and stiffer penalties for employers who seek to exploit them.
While all workers, regardless of where they are from should enjoy the same rights at work, migrant workers face systemic barriers to the full realisation of their rights. When reporting employer wrongdoing, many face jeopardising not only their employment but their right to stay in Australia. This creates a severe chilling effect and drives exploitation.
Enforcing these new amendments will ensure that migrant workers can more readily take action against unscrupulous employers without compromising their journey to permanent residency.
The passage of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023 will improve the integrity of Australia’s visa system and protect the rights of visa holders. These amendments include:
- Introducing new visa cancellation protections for migrant workers who have been exploited at work
- establishing criminal offenses and penalties for employers who exploit workers
- improving transparency through public disclosure around prohibited employers, ensuring those who have exploited workers are held accountable.
These changes will enhance transparency and fairness in our migration system and will provide all workers in Australia a better opportunity to enjoy safe and healthy workplaces with good pay.
Quotes attributable to Matt Kunkel, CEO of the Migrant Workers Centre
"Today's amendments to the Migration Act are an important step forward in ensuring migrant workers can achieve justice in Australian workplaces.”
“We welcome these changes and look forward to working with the Parliament to continue to improve conditions for migrant workers. By enhancing protections and accountability measures, this bill not only improves the rights of migrant workers but opens the door to a more equal and respectful culture in our workplaces.”