08 September 2008

Aus Minister protects overseas workers in Australian Migration Zone

Senator Chris Evans announced last Thursday an investigation into an Australian company found that overseas workers were being paid at unacceptable rates, and that the Government will ensure this will be the last incident to occur within the Australian Migration Zone.

A previous decision from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) ruled that overseas workers employed by McDermott Industries (Australia) needed only a Subclass 456 visa to work on the company’s vessel, which meant that short-term work was permitted in strictly limited circumstances. 

After the Workplace Ombudsman’s investigation into McDermott Industries, it was found that when workers laid a pipeline on the seabed, they were within the Australian Migration Zone.  This meant that they should have been holders of the Subclass 457 visa, which allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to temporarily work for them.  As holders of the 457 visa, overseas workers’ wages and rights are also strictly protected by the Government. 

The Government has acknowledged that the wages paid to the overseas workers on this particular vessel did not reflect national standards of pay or Australian values towards workers’ conditions.  As a result, Senator Evans has instructed his Department to ensure all overseas workers on vessels carrying out similar work will be required to apply for a Subclass 457 visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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