Australia is a nation of migrants and welcomes diverse cultures. Workplace laws are enforced to protect foreign workers in Australia and thus employers engaging foreign workers must ensure that they comply with both Australian workplace laws and immigration laws. In order to work in Australia, foreign workers must have a temporary long stay or permanent visa.
All people working in Australia, including foreign workers, are entitled to basic rights and protections in the workplace. 457 visa holders, migrant workers and international students have their rights and entitlements protected by National Employment Standards.
There are 10 minimum workplace entitlements under the NES:
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) protects employees against unlawful workplace practices which include unlawful discrimination or adverse action taken for a prohibited reason, such as exercising a workplace right or being underpaid.
Unlawful workplace discrimination occurs when an employer takes adverse action against a person who is an employee or prospective employee because of their race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion or social origin.
Further, employees cannot be subjected to adverse action because they exercise a workplace right. This may be a right to the working conditions described above, to workers compensation payments, or the right to make a complaint or commence proceedings.
Only the Department of Immigration and Border Protection can grant, refuse or cancel visas. Visa cancellation is not automatic in circumstances where a visa holder has breached their visa conditions. If you are under consideration for visa cancellation, you will have the opportunity to provide reasons as to why your visa should not be cancelled.
Under the 457 visa you are allowed to be unemployed for a period of up to 90 days. If you are not working whilst your claim is being processed, you will need to contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to ensure that you are not in breach of your visa conditions and do not face risk of deportation.
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated or exploited because you are a foreign worker, we recommend seeking legal advice.
McDonald Murholme provides successful legal strategies to foreign workers to ensure they are treated respectfully in the workplace at an affordable cost.
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