The Federal Government's workplace watchdog has forced a company to hand over more than $650,000 to underpaid workers in Australia on temporary migrant visas. The 38 Chinese workers were employed in March in Sydney by Hunan Industrial Equipment under the controversial 457 visa program. The Office of Workplace Services (OWS) says the workers were underpaid between $15,000 and $30,000 each. The OWS is investigating several similar complaints about the visa program.
The director of the OWS, Nicholas Wilson, says Hunan Industrial Equipment may face legal prosecution. "Quite clearly, one issue which we need to consider is whether or not there are breaches which may require us to take the matter to court," Mr Wilson said. "Our priority to date has been to recover the underpayment of wages and we've now done that. "Clearly, with the continuing investigation, we can now turn our attention to what we do about those breaches."
The Federal Opposition and unions want the visa program overhauled or scrapped. Mr Wilson says the OWS can and will protect workers. "The office has been in existence now, I think, for about six months," he said. "Quite clearly, we're starting to hit our straps and this is, I suppose, a sign our investigations are coming to a point where we can take matters to court. "I think it proves obviously that the office is very concerned about people getting their full entitlements. "We won't hesitate to take matters to court if need be."
cheap labour mongers should not be allowed to operate.