Worker survey worrying
A TASMANIAN senator will canvas migrant workers and international students to flush out more stories about wage theft after a report showing the problem is “endemic” nationwide.
The Wage Theft in Australia – Findings of the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey has raised alarm bells as it found one in three international students and backpackers were being paid half the minimum wage or less.
The report follows multiple investigations in Tasmania that have seen workers paid back money owed.
Labor Senator Lisa Singh said in Tasmania, 64 per cent of survey participants identified farm work or harvesting as the lowest paid job they had undertaken in Australia while 27 per cent identified kitchen and waiting jobs and 9 per cent said they had been paid least in hospitality and tourism.
Only 11 people working in Tasmania took part in the survey and Senator Singh wants to get a clearer picture by talking to target groups.
“I am extremely concerned by the systemic wage theft and underpayment of overseas workers detailed in this report,” she said.
The report also indicated that criminal offences such as forced labour or human trafficking may be occurring when workers must pay money to get a job, pay cash back to their employer, have passports confiscated or are threatened with being reported to immigration authorities.