Temporary Migrant Labour and Unpaid Work in Australia

Associate Professor Joanna Howe , Professor Andrew Stewart and Emirata Professor Rosemary Owens have recently published a timely article in the Sydney Law Review exploring the issue of unpaid work performed by temporary migrants.


Increasing attention is being given to the exploitation of temporary migrant
workers in Australia, especially in relation to wage underpayments and ‘cashback
scams’ where visa holders are coerced into returning a portion of their wage
to their employer. However, very little focus has been given to the incidence of
unpaid work performed by temporary migrants. This article examines how
previous forms of regulation affecting visas for working holiday makers and
international students actively encouraged the performance of unpaid work by
allowing unpaid work to count towards either permanent residency or an
extension of a visa holder’s temporary stay. The article also assesses the current
regulation of temporary migrant workers and the likelihood that it creates
incentives for this cohort to perform unpaid work. We argue that this likelihood
largely stems from the employer-driven nature of Australia’s temporary and
permanent migration program, and the ability for visa holders to achieve a
favourable migration outcome through the performance of paid work, for which
unpaid work is often a gateway.


And full text available here:

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