Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

(Migrant Justice Institute)

The Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network has added its voice to introduce better protections and pathways to seek a remedy for people on temporary visas who experience exploitation in Australia. 

More than 40 organisations and unions have joined together for “Breaking the Silence – a proposal for whistleblower protections” to enable migrant workers to address exploitation as part of the federal Government’s review of the Migration Act. The initiative is led by the Migrant Justice Institute and Human Rights Law Centre. 

These protections would increase the opportunity for international students and thousands of people on temporary visas working in Catholic schools and educational facilities, in hospitals, aged-care and disability services, offices, community service centres and as labour-hire on Catholic-owned construction sites to seek help without fear of losing their visa. 

Breaking the Silence sets out a blueprint for two key reforms: 

• A protection against visa cancellation for exploited migrant workers who take action against their employer and have breached their work conditions. 

• A short-term visa (Workplace Justice visa) to allow exploited migrant workers to remain in Australia and pursue a claim against their employers, with visa security and the ability to work. 

 “The evidence from numerous government inquiries, investigative media and academic research is clear – exploitation of people on temporary visas is rampant in Australia,” ACAN program manager Jenny Stanger said.

“The majority of those who experience abuse do not complain because the threat of visa cancellation disempowers and disables them from enforcing their rights. Exploitation paves the way to modern slavery so support for this proposal should be viewed as a preventative strategy.”

Ms Stanger said the proposal “aligns with Catholic Social Teaching on dignity in work, dignity of the person and Laudato Si’ goals”.

“It makes sense for ACAN to seek to advance the rights of migrant workers.”

Details: Breaking the Silence.


(Australian Catholic Anti-slavery Network)