26 September 2023

ABF targeting migrant workers’ month

Start the conversation

Unscrupulous employers underpaying or exploiting migrant workers in Australian workplaces are the target of an Australian Border Force (ABF) crackdown during a National Month of Action in July.

According to ABF officers, the force will visit workplaces around the nation to detect, disrupt and deter migrant worker exploitation, as well as educate migrant workers of their workplace rights.

More than 200 workplaces in both cities and regional areas across Australia are to be the focus of the campaign.

Acting Commander at ABF, Vaughan Baxter said the practice of underpaying or exploiting migrant workers had no place in Australia and was not tolerated by the ABF.

“Migrant workers play a key role in filling Australia’s labour shortages and supporting a thriving economy, if they are underpaid or exploited it is not only unfair to migrants, but has potential to damage our international reputation,” A/g Commander Baxter said.

“Making profits off the back of foreign worker exploitation is also unjust to employers who are doing the right thing and treating all workers properly,” he said.

“These unscrupulous employers should consider themselves on notice.”

He said the ABF and its law enforcement partners would continue to target criminals who seek to profit from the exploitation of foreign workers.

A/g Commander Baxter said employers of migrant workers have obligations under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to ensure their workers were lawful and had the correct conditions.

“Migrant worker exploitation comes in many forms, including wage underpayment, pressure to work in contravention of visa conditions, threats of visa cancellation, working excessive hours and unsafe work practices,” he said.

“If anyone is being exploited or is aware of someone who is being exploited in some way, they can be assured these concerns can be reported through Border Watch, regardless of visa status”.

The Month of Action is expected to incorporate Operation Inglenook which continues to target individuals who exploit temporary visa holders.

To date, more than 175 people suspected of exploiting the temporary visa program have been identified by the ABF through Operation Inglenook, with 15 people refused entry to Australia at the border due to concerns about their character.

Operation Inglenook was established in late 2022 to identify criminals who seek to exploit visa programs and visa holders who are victims of trafficking or modern slavery practices within the sex industry.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.