The Retail Supply Chain Alliance – a coalition of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the Australian Workers' Union, and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) – has welcomed new laws announced by the Albanese Government to better protect migrant workers in Australia.
Among the key features of the legislation are protections against visa cancellation, the implementation of flexible visa requirements for future sponsorship visas, and the introduction of a short-term visa for workers to bring wage claims against exploitative employers.
SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer praised the government's decision, noting that the new legislation could prove a 'game-changer' for migrant workers.
"We welcome the new and clearer definitions which will prevent exploitative employers from pressuring migrant workers to work outside of their visa conditions," Mr Dwyer said.
"These laws are a critical step towards ending workplace exploitation and wage theft that many migrant workers face."
The legislation also includes a significant extension of the time sponsored migrants are allowed between sponsors from 60 days to 180 days, allowing these visa holders to engage in part-time or casual employment while they are between sponsored employers.
"This legislation is the result of many years of tenacious advocacy and we're very grateful to finally see it," said AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton.
"It should enable migrant workers to safely address wage theft and escape from exploitative employers without risking their visa status."
In addition to these key reforms, the new laws promise to extend Australian workplace protections to all workers, regardless of immigration status, signalling a commitment to ensuring fair and safe working conditions for everyone.
"This crucial amendment to the Migration Act means that all workers, including undocumented ones, are entitled to workplace protections under Australian law," noted TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
"While we applaud these reforms, we know there is still significant work ahead. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders, including the Department of Home Affairs, in the co-design process of these protections to ensure they are robust, effective and centred on the needs of migrants."
The Retail Supply Chain Alliance is a coalition of the Shop, Distribitive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), the Australian Workers' Union (AWU), and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU), committed to advocating for the rights and welfare of workers in the retail supply chain industry.
Contact: Anil Lambert 0416 426 722