Farmers are being warned they could be held liable for the underpayment of workers on their farms, even if they’re employed through labour hire companies.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on the exploitation of working holiday makers on 417 visas, following a spike in complaints.
These workers often don’t complain, as they are primarily often concerned with just getting the 88 days’ work that they need to produce evidence of, so there is a tendency to put up with a lot before they will complain.
What really bought this to the forefront is that in 2011/12, around $67,000 was recovered for people working under these arrangements, and in the last financial year, it’s been almost $350,000, so that’s almost five times as much in just a couple of years.
Complaints from 417 visas now are almost a third of complaints from all overseas workers and visa holders, and there’s an increase both in the number of people coming out on these visas and the number of complaints.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s crackdown on the wages and conditions of 417 visa workers is a welcome investigation. It will target the small minority of people who are doing the wrong thing.
Written by AUREC Human Capital Solutions. Find information on their working holiday visa services here.