8 April 2020


The Morrison Government have decided to be on the wrong side of history by locking 1.1 million migrant workers on temporary visas out of a JobKeeper wage subsidy package.

Today’s vote to allow the passing of legislation that stops 1.1 million temporary visa holders from accessing any financial safety net is devastating for whole communities that have built their lives in Australia. Many workers will be faced with debt and destitution.

Migrant workers on temporary visas make up over 10 percent of the workforce and represent over 10 percent of economic demand – they look after us, they feed us, they transport us and now in their time of need the Morrison Government has left them behind.

The Morrison Government has turned its back on temporary visa holders who have been in Australia for years calling it home. Migrant workers have been told to “go home” if they can't afford to say, however if they can’t afford to stay, they can’t afford to pay for an airfare home.

Migrant workers across Australia contacted Prime Minister Scott Morrison and members of Parliament to share their stories this week urging them to expand the JobKeeper wage subsidy to include them.

The Migrant Workers Centre calls on the Morrison Government to include migrant workers in the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Quotes attributable to Director of Migrant Workers Centre Matt Kunkel

“The cost of this vote will be immeasurable. Migrant workers will face poverty, hunger and homelessness. Morrison says the JobKeeper legislation will ‘save lives and save jobs’, yet he’s handpicked which lives in a discriminatory and reckless way.

“Scott Morrison could have done more, and should have done more, but instead he has abandoned temporary visa holders to poverty and inequality.

“The Morrison Government had the chance to be on the right side of history, but instead surrendered their compassion and humanity, leaving behind temporary visa holders.

“Australia will not return to how it was. We have a chance to shape a post-pandemic Australia without racism, discrimination, poverty and inequality but the Morrison Government has failed temporary visa holders.”


For further information, please contact Victorian Trades Hall Council communications lead Kate Shuttleworth, [email protected] or Migrant Workers Centre Communications Organiser Ella Shi [email protected]