The Migrant Workers Centre joins calls from 40 legal service providers, unions, ethnic community peak bodies, churches, and national organisations for whistle-blower protections for migrant workers who have faced exploitation and abuse at work.
The Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil must urgently establish:
- Protection against visa cancellation for migrant workers who act against employer wrongdoing; and
- A new visa that provides migrant workers the ability to remain in Australia and pursue justice where their workplace rights have been breached.
The Breaking the Silence proposal, published today by the Migrant Justice Institute and Human Rights Law Centre, highlights the need for these reforms, revealing three quarters of migrant workers in Australia have experienced wage theft. These findings are consistent with the MWC report, Lives in Limbo, and reiterate the urgent and ongoing need for systemic visa reform.
Quotes attributable to Matt Kunkel, CEO of the Migrant Workers Centre
“The majority of migrant workers in Australia experience wage theft. Some face even worse forms of abuse at the hands of their employers, who often control their passports. Whistle-blower protections are essential if we are serious about stamping out workplace exploitation.
“Without protection from adverse visa outcomes, workers are in an impossible situation, forced to choose between the stability of their employment and the security of their residency.
“It’s unconscionable that our visa system forces many workers to choose between their residency and their workplace rights. These whistle-blower protections will empower migrant workers to seek fair employment and be treated as equal members of our communities. The benefits will be felt by all workers.
“All workers must be empowered to raise issues of workplace exploitation without the concern of disrupting their settlement pathways.”
For more information, please contact Omar Ghazala, Digital and Communications Officer via email [email protected]