UPDATE: New Penalties Have Been Proposed To Protect Migrant Workers
The Department of Home affairs just released a draft of the migration amendment for visa subclass 462 (Work and Holiday) Visa and Subclass 417 (Working Holiday). The Migration Amendment (Protecting Migrant Workers) Bill 2021 that proposes new criminal offences and civil penalties to further protect migrant workers from exploitation.
What is the Working Holiday Makers program?
Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) program allows any of you aged 18 to 30 to have extended holiday in Australia and work to fund yourself on your trip. This temporary visa will allow you to stay for 12 months. There are two WHMs, and depending on the passport you hold, you may apply for the Working Holiday (subclass 417) or the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa. According to a survey done by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, there are 121,000 working holiday makers in Australia from various different countries. Under this visa, all of you will be covered by the same workplace laws regarding their pay and conditions.
Find out more about the Working Holiday Maker Program here.
Protecting Migrant Workers
Recently, a new bill has been proposed to protect migrant workers, especially those under 417 and 462 visas. It send a strong message that wage underpayment and other exploitative practices against migrant workers are unacceptable.
What Does This New Amendment Mean?
With this change, the Government wants to send a clear message that any exploitation of foreign labor is completely unacceptable and will not be accepted.
Exploitation of any worker is unacceptable, and it is well understood that it has major ramifications, including negative effects for the worker’s human rights. Any exploitation of a person who has been given a WHM visa by an employer could result in a lawsuit.
The new measure aims to improve protection for people who have been granted WHM visas by identifying employers who may pose a risk to a person’s safety or welfare, for example based on relevant convictions, and regulating that working for such employers does not count as specified work for the purposes of qualifying for a second or third Working Holiday (Subclass 417) or Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa.
Other critical changes to strengthen migrant worker protections under the Migration Act 1958 will be included in the Bill, such as:
- Prohibiting certain employers who have breached specified provisions in the Migration Act or the Fair Work Act 2009 from employing additional non-citizen employees for a specified period;
- Establishing new compliance tools for the Australian Border Force to work with employers, labour hire companies and other parties to improve compliance with Migration Act requirements relating to employing migrant workers;
- Requiring the use of the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system to ensure employers, labour hire companies and others involved in referring non-citizens for work are conducting appropriate checks of prospective employees’ immigration status and work-related visa conditions; and
- Increasing civil penalties for breaches of work-related provisions in the Migration Act.
Don’t worry, we can help you with your Working Holiday Makers application!
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Take the first leap and get in touch with us. Our migration agents are professional, honest and our team members are able to speak various languages such as Mandarin/ Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic, Japanese, Polish, German and Russian. Contact us through email at [email protected] or via phone on 1300 827 159. Alternatively, you may book your consultation online and it is 100% refundable if you become our client.