COVID-19: Pizza Worker Who Holds Temporary Visa Lies And Forced South Australia Into Lockdown
What Would Happen To Pizza Worker’s Visa That Leads South Australia Into Lockdown
A 36 year old Spanish man working as a pizza worker has been caught lying to authorities which started an incredibly strict 6 day lockdown in the whole state of South Australia. The man is living and working lawfully in Adelaide on a temporary graduate visa. The SA premier Steven Marshall announced they would be ending the lockdown period early due to authorities learning of the man’s lie.
Mr.Marshall declared authorities would be looking at “all and every avenue to throw the book at this person” and that “There have got to be consequences for this person”.
This can sound like very harsh rhetoric to other migrants that are living and working in Australia who will be watching with interest to see how the government will choose to punish and what repercussions the man will face.
What Actually Happened?
The Pizza Worker, who is living in Australia on a temporary graduate visa, had told officials he worked in the kitchen of a hotel but did not say that he was also working at a Pizza restaurant in Adelaide where he contracted COVID-19 from a coworker.
Although the reasons for the man lying have not been publicly stated or disclosed it can be assumed the man was in violation of working regulations and did not want to get himself or his employer in trouble.
During these times of economic hardship brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic it is not unreasonable for a migrant such as this man to find further opportunity for income even if it might have been in violation of certain rules such as a cash in hand shift or accepting unfair wages.
These practices are quite common in the hospitality industry. Maybe he was scared that if they knew he was doing cash in hand shifts he’d be deported, maybe his employer asked him to lie if the question was ever asked.
It could have been like most of us in a foreign country unaware of the rules and customs lied to protect his employer maybe even because he was instructed to by the employer. Yet it is this man not his employer that has been thrust into the media spotlight and threatened with harsh repercussions.
What right do they actually have to be able to punish the pizza worker though?
Can he be deported? Will his visa be revoked?
What rights does he have to defend himself from punishment?
Read more: Graduate Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does The Adelaide Pizza Worker Lie To The Authority?
An article published by The Conversation stated two key factors that played a major role of this incident. One is the fact that the people involved in this accident held a second job, and the second is the pizza worker is currently holding a temporary graduate visa.
1. The pizza worker has two jobs
The first factor highlights the problem of underpayment of migrant workers. In a report released by the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce back in March 2019, it is stated that migrant workers underpayment has been a long-standing issue in Australia.
If workers are paid fairly for the amount of work they did, then they would not need to look for a second job.
A survey finds that most migrant workers under temporary visas perceived that it is unlikely for them to be paid the minimum wage by employers thus accepting being underpaid. This leads us to the second factor.
2. The pizza worker is a temporary visa holder
Migrant workers under temporary visa, in this pizza worker case is a temporary graduate visa, are prone to underpayment since they are lacking the awareness of Australian workplace laws (e.g. fair pay, working hours, etc.) – also mentioned in the Taskforce report.
So, if you are holding a temporary visa, it is important to not only breach your work conditions but also to be aware of your visa work entitlements and the law that surrounds it.
You will also need to understand the working visa that best suits your circumstances.
What Punishment Will/Can The Pizza Worker Be Given?
For the moment there is no punishment for lying to a contact tracer,“There is no penalty for failing to truthfully answer those questions,” said SA Police commissioner Stevens.
However there has been a police taskforce assigned to investigate the matter to find what and if any crimes took place.
Given the tough talk from Premier Marshall it would seem like they are trying to find a way to punish the pizza worker.
There was a recent case of Two Australian women that were caught lying to police on their border pass and not saying they went to Melbourne during the COVID-19 travel restrictions upon return to Queensland.
The women are facing up to $13,000 in fines and 5 years in jail. There are differences in the cases one being the spanish man is a migrant living on temporary graduate visa.
Could They Cancel His Graduate Visa?
Generally in the past, visas were taken away only when serious crimes were committed by the holder. In 2014 this changed when the Migration Amendment (Character and General Visa Cancellation) Bill made it much easier for authorities to cancel visas.
- In 2013/2014 the year before the bill was passed, there were 76 (s501 visa cancelations) due to character yet in the 2019/2020 period there were 1021 visa cancellations!
- 25 cancellations (2019/2020) happened due to non-violent offences.
- 36 cancellations (2019/2020) happened due to driving offences!
- 5 cancellations happened in which a reason wasn’t even listed.
As we can see from this information it has become much easier for the government to cancel visas. So if they do find a way to charge the pizza worker, they may be able to cancel his temporary graduate visa. There is a process that he can take though.
So, What Are His Options To Stop His Visa From Being Cancelled?
Since the pizza worker has not yet been charged with any serious crime such as murder or rape which would cause mandatory cancellations.
He may still be facing a discretionary cancellation which would mean he’d be served with notice of intent of cancellation.
He showed regret for his actions and he apologized for them. He should’ve been more careful to avoid the visa cancellation.
As the graduate visa could lead him to get the Permanent Resident, he needs to make sure that he doesn’t breach the visa conditions, and if he plans to get the Permanent Resident, he needs to check and meet all the requirements for this.
So, let’s say the visa got cancelled, what should be done? If this happens to you, you can lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) during this time and if that fails then