Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee: Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023
Summary of recommendations
Recommendation 1. That the Federal Government recalibrate the design of the Migration Program towards permanent migration by:
- amending visa subclasses and work-related restrictions that are most closely associated with ‘permanent temporariness’;3
- introducing standardised visa processing times, including a mechanism for complaint and redress if those standards are not met; and
- replacing skilled and employer-sponsored migration with an accessible, self-nominated system of temporary migration in areas of skills shortage, with clearer pathways to self-nominated permanent residency after two years.
Recommendation 2. That the meaning of ‘relevant workplace law’ under s 245APA(2) be clarified to include:
- The National Employment Standards
- State and Territory labour hire licensing laws
- State and Territory wage theft laws
- Common law causes of action
Recommendation 3. That the amendments to ss 116(1A) and (1B) are not introduced. The Exploited Worker Guarantee proposed by the Migrant Justice Institute and the Human Rights Law Centre should instead be adopted in full.
Recommendation 4. That the Department of Home Affairs, when dealing with cases where employers have been penalised under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is suspected, refers these matters to the Fair Work Ombudsman for investigation.
Recommendation 5. That the phrase ‘arrangement in relation to work’ under ss 245AA(1)(a), 245AAA, 245AAB, and 245AAC, is broadly defined to include any arrangement that is harmful or has negative consequences for the non-citizen (including, for example, accepting a sexual advance).
Recommendation 6. That the discretionary powers exercised under ss 245AYK and 245AYM be subjected to increased public scrutiny by making available all relevant materials considered, barring the release of information that could potentially identify the worker(s) involved.
Recommendation 7. That the Government enhance enforcement efforts by implementing Recommendations 9 and 10 of the Report of the Migrant Worker Taskforce and investing in community-based legal services that can assist migrant workers with both employment and migration-related claims.
Recommendation 8. That the Federal Government extend eligibility for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) payments to visa holders or applicants who qualify for the Exploited Worker Guarantee or the Workplace Justice Visa.