Australia’s visa abuse system continues

By Leith van Onselen

Over the past two years, we have witnessed a veritable conga-line of rorts and exploitation involving foreign workers.

This rorting has been widespread and systemic, including: foreign students working at 7-Eleven, Caltex, fast food outlets (here and here), and the like; so-called “skilled” 457 visa holders working in IT, engineering, and other professions; as well as seasonal workers employed as slaves to work on farms.

Today, Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson and Sarah Danckert – who originally broke the 7-Elevan scandal all those years back – have uncovered yet more rorting, this time involving United Petroleum. From The Brisbane Times:

Petrol giant United Petroleum has been blasted by the workplace regulator for rampant underpayment of workers across its franchise network after a series of raids…

The investigation concluded that 40 per cent of the stores it raided were exploiting workers, including breaching workplace laws and significantly underpaying award wages to foreign workers on visas…

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said it was time for the company to take an “ethical and moral” responsibility to ensure that people employed at its outlets were receiving their correct entitlements under Australia’s workplace laws.

He said the findings were “concerning”, particularly given most of the workers were vulnerable foreign workers on visas.

Sadly, Australia’s immigration system has morphed into one giant rort that is exploiting vulnerable foreign workers, robbing young Australians of employment opportunities, as well as choking the living standards of residents in our major cities, who are having to contend with stagnant wages growth, ever-rising congestion, deteriorating housing affordability, and overall reduced livability.

Rather than labeling anyone wanting a reduction in Australia’s world-leading immigration program “political extremists”, Labor leader Bill Shorten should instead stand up for Australian workers and crackdown on the myriad of visa rorts that are depriving Australians of a future as well as clogging our major cities.

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Leith van Onselen
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  1. armchair economist

    mmmhhhh….not sure i agree. I employ 10 staff all out side of australia, all engineers & IT workers. Some are just cheaper and some are not that cheap but the skill set isn’t easy to come by. A cloud environment administrator/engineer would cost me the equivalent of my entire team salary for the year. Australia is not competitive, people come and work for less because it is still a lot more than what they get in other countries and quality of life is still much better compared to countries of origin. Complaining about the countries lack of productivity and low wage growth is silly when you consider how inflated the wages already are. In fact for tradeables there is no point in employing a local if you can avoid it you should.

      • Yep. 1% of Indians have 58% of the wealth in India. Up from 53% in 2015.

        No doubt he wants the same wealth gap to happen in AUS.

        The minimum wage in Sydney should be $30/hour. But thanks Rudd and Howard for making the min wage the same across AUS!

      • “The richest 1% of Australians now own the same wealth as the bottom 60%” – Research by same agency Oxfam whose stats you are quoting for India.

      • armchair economist

        the issue of skilled migration vs low level migration are 2 separate things. Skilled migration will still work for a lower wage than a local….and im not sure why you look down on engineers/phds/post docs/etc… we should import them and if they are willing to take a pay cut relative to a local and produce more goods that we can sell..thats a good thing.
        The low leve worker who gets paid less than required for subsistance is slavery and that is immoral. But paying a local $200K to do what a recent arrival will do better at $100K is stupid and unsustainable.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        You have the cost to productivity curve wrong. An engineer is most productive in the first 10 years of their career, and a fresh graduate is not expensive. The reason why people need to pay $$$ for local or overseas talent is due to urgency, or an inability/unwillingness to train new people.

        As to the expensive cloud admin on AWS, I think you’re being hookwinked?Unless your requirement is very specific, AWS does most of the work already, you just have to setup a script to automate deployment.

      • But paying a local $200K to do what a recent arrival will do better at $100K is stupid and unsustainable.

        God help us Armchair Economist, nobody in IT is earning $200k, few are even earning $100k.

        Running a cloud based app shouldn’t take 10 FTE’s.

        It sounds impressive telling people you have 10 employees working on it but you are full of exaggeration.

        What do you want anyway? Do you want access to global skills? You have it! Australia is the easiest OECD country to get IT immigration into, IT salaries have been going backwards yet you are still whinging.

        Nothing will help you.

        You are absolutely full of it. Factually incorrect and full of gas.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        God help us Armchair Economist, nobody in IT is earning $200k, few are even earning $100k.

        Someone with 10+ years experience and full stack knowledge in a fast-moving field like cloud/AWS would go pretty fucking close on contract rates. Probably “only” $130-150k FT though.

      • Just what are people complaining about, skilled migration isn’t obviously fixing so I suppose you won’t mind if we wind that back will you?

        Ten effing years of experience in a technology 8 years old. Talk about unicorns.

        How about we put “IT Unicorn” on skills migration list, that way you can trade horses.

    • Just curious, what type of ‘cloud’ environment / engineer skills are we talking about here?

      • armchair economist

        running AWS KMS/load balancer/etc…+ architect all in one to plan and guide our development

      • armchair economist

        local but since im burning my own savings on product development, I have to be frugal and efficient which means no Aussie engineers. I can get a better deal even in the US & canada. Australia is just appallingly uncompetitive and it will catch up sooner and later and we all know it.

      • armchair economist

        U suggesting the rest of the world is less trustworthy than aussie’s … mmhhhh … my experience has been otherwise

  2. Even in 2005 I knew that 7-Eleven pays illegal wages.

    Why do we see whites and Africans working at Coles Express but never 7-11? The answer is clear since the 4 Corners episode.

    In 2004, I had a uni classmate who worked in an Asian restaurant for illegal wages. He went to high school in AUS and had an Aussie passport by then.

    He got a proper job after finishing his degree.

    But of course Gillard dumbed down Aussie degrees and gave 457 visas to KFC!

    So today, a guy like my mate would not be able to get a job in an Asian restaurant while studying and his degree would be worthless and the proper job would be given to a 457 visa worker.

    Absolutely disgraceful, Shorten.

    Over 28% of AUS is foreign born, what % of Norway is?

  3. What isn’t discussed is that the foreign workers of whom a large number are on student visas complicit in that employers allow them to work in excess of their 20 hours a week permitted on their visa. The large scale fraud in the overseas student visa caseload, particularly in India points to the fact that students in Australia do not have sufficient funds to support their stay and therefore must work as many hours as possible to be able to stay here and gain PR.

    • They should obviously be denied PR. AUS should have the same immigration rate as Japan or South Korea.

      • Immigration fraud cases needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt in a court. There is no magic wand solution.if the student has his visa cancelled, he has the MRT to appeal to where there is a good chance the decision to cancel will be overturned because many of the MRT members are best niave or biased against the department.

    • They have to work more than 20 hrs a week because the pay is less. If they would be getting more then they wouldn’t be working 20 hrs a week. Also, if they do not have sufficient funds to support their stay then fees will come down and then they will have funds to support their stay because their tuitions will be less. Uni tuitions, franchise fees, pay rates all are not set in stone. Even franchise fees are set accordingly because the franchisor knows how much profit the franchisees make because of low pay labour. If franchisees pay legal rate for labour, then even franchisor’s setup fees will reduce. Because the students earn less, even the shared house owners then keep 10-14 students in one house. If students earn enough they can probably afford their own rooms and afford to stay 5 in one house instead of 10. Everything is connected and everyone is on the scam one way or another.

  4. If they’re visa is cancelled they go home or into detention as they are unlawful. We need to first prove that someone is breaching the conditions of their visa. Then they are given an opportunity to comment as to why their visa should not be cancelled. Then they have appeal rights to the MRT which takes about a year.Currently there is no administrative power to block someone from applying for PR on the basis of a possible breach of an earlier held visa. Welcome to the wonderfuly fair
    world of immigration where there is a rort a minute.

  5. 1.91 million temporary visa holders..

    ‘International students’ pretending to do 8 year child level English courses or 14 year level ‘diplomas’ not even international recognised or free in their home country. Of over half a million so called ‘international students’ only 35,000 are doing what would be recognised as genuine post grad higher education at a internationally recognised provider & curriculum.

    Many illiterate even in their own language, third world rural poor or city slum clearance procured in by foreign criminal syndicates for underground or vice work.

    Fake 457, fake partner, fake NZ back door with over half the NZ special visa not NZ born, fake working visa fake rural workers, fake bridging visas.
    Plus add on
    0.40 million tourist visa holders working illegally (disc 5% of 8 million tourists here to work illegally)
    Plus add on
    0.085 million overstayers

    = > 2.4 million in round numbers

    96% concentration in Melbourne Sydney Brisbane

    Occupying 400,000 or more ‘ex Australian’ dwellings now converted to 8 or 10 third world migrants innbubk share in the small dwelling in the great cash inn have sub let racket.

    The vast majority here on fake or borrowed funds.

    Here ONLY to work illegally, fake ID, fake labour services, underground or cash or vice.
    Here ONLY to snag a PR as an anchor and bring in the rest.
    Destroyed housing
    Foreign criminal syndicates buying every bit of modest first home owner established housing they can to run cash in hand bunk share subletting rackets (and claim negative gearing on the falsely declared rent income).

    Destroyed education – totally prostituted as a pretext for a visa to get into Australia to work illegally & snag a PR.

    Destroyed jobs for Aussies
    1.1 million Aussies unemployed
    1.1 million Aussies seeking work

    Destroyed wages – falling in real terms

    Congesting our public transport & infrastructure.
    Massive waste and misaligned public expenditure on what really is third world migrant guestworker usage (who don’t pay towards the cost).
    Paying little or no taxation or social contribution as the vast majority are working illegally.

    A $105 billion illegal underground industry.

    Australia’s largest and most stupid debacle ever.

    The economic facts.
    Bring at best (declared funds) $3.4 billion
    Remittances & money transfers out $36 billion (world bank 2016).
    A $31 billion negative GDP contribution.
    A $25 billion room & bunk share subetting industry of which only $8 billion or less is declared.
    A huge future burden as once they get the PR in come the family reunion etc all for Medicare & pensions.

    Sydney, Melbourne and now Brisbane becoming a patchwork of fetid third world bunk & room share migrant slums.

    This is how criminal & stupid our visa program is.

    This why we need a Royal Commission into the whole visa racket : top to bottom & sideways.

  6. The sad fact is that even if the eastern capitals get a hell of a lot more expensive, congested and shitty, they will still be (especially with PR) way ahead of anywhere in India and so the willingness of student and 457 visa holders to put up with this sort of treatment is not going to abate if it is a step to PR and associated medical and social security safety net and possibility of family reunion visas for the parents etc etc. Added to that, the current levels of public corruption in Australia, although absolutely appalling by the standards of those of us who were born here, are absolutely nothing compared to India, never mind China, Russia etc.

    If I were an Indian / Bangladeshi born 20 something and had the means to get my butt over here, I reckon I’d be doing the graveyard shift at the 7-11 as well.

    The only saving grace in all of this is that a public voice of opposition to this shite is mounting now. Imagine if it had gotten to a Sydney population of 10 million before anyone got any airtime on the MSM about this??