Migrant Workers’ Taskforce

For: 

The Migrant Workers Taskforce was established in 2016 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect vulnerable workers. It was asked to identify further proposals for improvements in law, law enforcement and investigation, and other practical measures to more quickly identify and rectify any cases of migrant worker exploitation.

Budget 2019-20

On 2 April 2019, the Australian Government announced measures in the 2019-20 Budget responding to recommendations in the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce Report. Additional funding will be provided to the Fair Work Ombudsman to bolster enforcement action against employers who exploit vulnerable workers. Funding will also be provided to enhance resources to ensure vulnerable workers are aware of their workplace rights.

Also stemming from this year’s Budget is the development of the National Labour Hire Registration Scheme to offer a balanced approach to protect vulnerable workers, target rogue operators and level the playing field for businesses that do the right thing, while leaving the labour hire industry as a whole, intact. The Government is committed to working with the labour hire industry on the final details of the Scheme.

Migrant Workers' Taskforce overview

The Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, released the report of the Migrant Workers' Taskforce (the Taskforce) on 7 March 2019.

The Taskforce, chaired by Professor Allan Fels AO and Dr David Cousins AM has made 22 recommendations aimed at improving workplace protections for vulnerable migrant workers.

The Government has accepted in principle all 22 recommendations.

The Report and Government Response is available below:

Members included:

  • Department of Jobs and Small Business
  • Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Australian Border Force
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Other relevant agencies with responsibilities that impact on exploitation of migrant workers, as required.

Compliance Information for Employers and Migrant Workers

For workers

All people working in Australia are entitled to the same basic rights and protections at work. This includes visa holders, migrant workers and people who might only work for a short time.

To check your minimum wages and conditions, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can also help if you have a workplace problem. For example, if you think you’re not getting the right pay or if something doesn’t seem right at work. If you need help, call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. If you need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

If you, or someone you know, has a problem at work but you don’t want to share your personal information, you can tell the Fair Work Ombudsman about it through the anonymous report form.

For employers

Everyone working in Australia is entitled to basic rights and protections in the workplace, including visa holders, migrant workers and those working unlawfully. These are set out in Australia’s workplace laws and are not negotiable.

The Fair Work Ombudsman can give you information and advice to help you understand your workplace rights and responsibilities.

To check your obligations and your employee’s minimum pay and conditions, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website. If you need additional help understanding Australian workplace laws call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

If you need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

Government reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration visas

On 18 April 2017, the Government announced reforms to Australia’s temporary and permanent skilled visa programs. As part of these reforms, the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa will soon be introduced. This new visa is part of the Government’s significant reform package to strengthen the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programs. More information can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

More information