Wednesday, 07 February 2024
Media release

Reforms to protect vulnerable workers pass the Parliament

The Albanese Labor Government has delivered greater protections for vulnerable workers who speak up against exploitation, and harsher penalties to crack down on employers who seek to exploit them.

Today the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill 2023 Bill passed the Parliament with unanimous support. 

From 1 July, those who exploit a worker because of their visa status will face prison time, penalties and fines will triple, and employers who mistreat workers will be banned from hiring any worker on a temporary visa. 

All Australians will benefit from this reform, including local businesses who do the right thing but have to compete with others who underpay- making their product cheaper in the process. 

After a decade of the former Liberal Government turning a blind eye to exploitation, their support of this reform is welcome- but demonstrates that they just couldn’t be bothered to act during their ten years in Government. 

The Albanese Labor Government believes that no worker should be unsafe regardless of their visa status. This Bill will bring us one step closer to that goal. 

Quotes attributable to Minister Giles: 

“Just like our plan to give every Australian taxpayer a tax cut, the Government’s legislation will benefit all workers across the economy – visa holders and Australians alike. 

“Under our new laws, it doesn’t matter if that company is a multinational giant or a hundred years old – if exploitation is happening, they’ll get a knock at the door.

“This reform is a win for all workers – and could not have been achieved without the bravery of those who spoke up and told their story.”