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I saw this doco on TV sometime ago its about migrant workers working on farms for as low as $3 an hour. Some didn't get paid at all.
Slaving Away - Four Corners
What do seasoned Aussies think, could this be true ?
 
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Yes it's true....they are backpackers trying to get their second visa and are at risk of being exploited. As they need the signature and reporting the company or farm means they have to start over again (and may miss out) no one complains.
 

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I saw this doco on TV sometime ago its about migrant workers working on farms for as low as $3 an hour. Some didn't get paid at all.
Slaving Away - Four Corners
What do seasoned Aussies think, could this be true ?
Thank you for sharing this Buddha.

Wow! I saw the video and pulled up one of the employers who had employed labor hire agency. The company has sent out a statement with actions taken on their part after this video was aired.

"
05 May 2015
We are deeply concerned by the findings of ABC’s Four Corners investigation, which aired on Monday 4 May 2015. We have taken immediate action on both the issues raised by the program.

As a result of the questions posed to us by Four Corners on Friday 24 April, we contacted CNC Labour Hire the same day, and it admitted that it had in fact been underpaying its workers. This is in spite of our company at all times paying CNC the correct funds to cover all wages and all entitlements.

We terminated their contract on Thursday 30 April. We offered all who are contracted workers at D’VineRipe the opportunity to be directly employed by the company. We can confirm that, as of Friday 1 May, D’VineRipe directly employs 100% of its workforce.

The contractual obligations we enter into with all labour hire companies with which we engage set out the terms and conditions of our requirement that any labour hire company meet all legal and statutory obligations in relation to pay and entitlements. In the case of CNC Labour Hire they have shamelessly defrauded our workers and our company. In relation to contract labour, D’VineRipe undertakes an analysis of the proposed pay rates that will be agreed under any labour hire contract to ensure these meet appropriate rates and awards and all statutory and legal requirements. D’VineRipe also annually verifies audits of contracts and payslips.

As a result of the ABC investigation, and our own, we are introducing monthly audits of payslips and actual payments made, so as to confirm that any labour hire company we might use, in any location, are paying workers their full legal entitlements.

The program also included allegations of sexual harassment by one of our supervisors. We were aware of one of these allegations; it was investigated by us in December 2014 and also by South Australia Police. SA Police determined there was conflicting evidence and the complaint did not warrant further action. That said, the Four Corners program included another allegation, of which we were not aware. The supervisor involved has been stood down until this additional allegation can be fully investigated by SA Police as well as any other possible misconduct, which may involve this supervisor.

All of these matters are of the utmost seriousness. We wish to state clearly, D’VineRipe has zero tolerance for maltreatment of its workers and will do whatever is required to deliver fair and ethical working conditions at all times for our workforce.

<< See all media releases
"
You can read about it here.
Welcome to D’VineRipe Tomatoes
 
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I watched that episode of Four Corners and it's pretty sickening. Many of the 417 visa holders involved in this are from Asian countries and have limited English skills, and these farms and labour contractors prey on that and their lack of knowledge of their labour rights, forcing them to work long hours for extremely low wages. (In fact, in one scene where some 417s in Queensland are demanding wages owed to them, the labour contractor says to the hostel manager not to send them any more "European workers" ostensibly because their English skills are better and they are more aware of their rights.) It's not just that they're getting underpaid and being forced to work long hours (although that in and of itself is horrendous), but female workers in particular are being targeted for sexual exploitation as well.

The irony is that these visas are designed for "cultural exchange". It's despicable that this sort of thing is happening and I wonder if anything will really be done about it since these people are basically invisible. The government is complicit since they are allowing the 417 visa program to continue even knowing that it's no longer being used for its intended purpose.

They're also taking away the tax threshold for working holidaymakers, which means they'll be paying tax at the higher non-resident rate. Which will force more of them to work for cash in hand and leave them vulnerable to being exploited even more.
 

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I watched that episode of Four Corners and it's pretty sickening. Many of the 417 visa holders involved in this are from Asian countries and have limited English skills, and these farms and labour contractors prey on that and their lack of knowledge of their labour rights, forcing them to work long hours for extremely low wages. (In fact, in one scene where some 417s in Queensland are demanding wages owed to them, the labour contractor says to the hostel manager not to send them any more "European workers" ostensibly because their English skills are better and they are more aware of their rights.) It's not just that they're getting underpaid and being forced to work long hours (although that in and of itself is horrendous), but female workers in particular are being targeted for sexual exploitation as well.

The irony is that these visas are designed for "cultural exchange". It's despicable that this sort of thing is happening and I wonder if anything will really be done about it since these people are basically invisible. The government is complicit since they are allowing the 417 visa program to continue even knowing that it's no longer being used for its intended purpose.

They're also taking away the tax threshold for working holidaymakers, which means they'll be paying tax at the higher non-resident rate. Which will force more of them to work for cash in hand and leave them vulnerable to being exploited even more.
Why does the visa class exist if it's not serving the real purpose any more? Doesn't government check/survey the market time to time to see if the people taking this visa are doing so for the intended/legitimate purpose?
 

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Why does the visa class exist if it's not serving the real purpose any more? Doesn't government check/survey the market time to time to see if the people taking this visa are doing so for the intended/legitimate purpose?
I remember a few years ago, the California milk association openly asked the gov to take it easy on illegal immigrants. Because without the illegal Mexicans working on their stables/farms they wouldn't be able to produce and distribute milk. The average American workers weren't up for the levels of labor required in a stable for the minimum wages.

I think its the same with what was shown on this doco. If the farms had to employ people at the minimum wage, then they will have to increase the prices of the fruit/veges. The prices go up, the public complains. Come election time, no one votes for this government. So, unfortunately, I think its in the best interest of the government to ignore these events.

Although the show, only highlighted a handful of suppliers, what about the hundred of others across Australia ? What has changed since this show was aired ? I think most of the farms still practice same things.
 

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I remember a few years ago, the California milk association openly asked the gov to take it easy on illegal immigrants. Because without the illegal Mexicans working on their stables/farms they wouldn't be able to produce and distribute milk. The average American workers weren't up for the levels of labor required in a stable for the minimum wages.

I think its the same with what was shown on this doco. If the farms had to employ people at the minimum wage, then they will have to increase the prices of the fruit/veges. The prices go up, the public complains. Come election time, no one votes for this government. So, unfortunately, I think its in the best interest of the government to ignore these events.

Although the show, only highlighted a handful of suppliers, what about the hundred of others across Australia ? What has changed since this show was aired ? I think most of the farms still practice same things.
I agree with you. However, it would be wrong to believe that the farms wouldn't get cheap labour if this visa didn't exist. There are herds of students and regional visa holders (and even PR visa holders these days who remain unemployed for months) who would be willing to take up these jobs at lower wages and in fact, they do. I was hearing stories about the international students of third grade colleges where they really don't have to worry much about attendance and they spend most of the time on such farms or at similar cash jobs to earn money for their college fees which eventually allows them to remain in Australia on student visa. Legally students can only work for 20 hrs a week during semesters but in this situation no one cares since, as you said, it is a win-win for both farm owners and students. Having acquired no skills during their education (not even English), these students, upon graduation, look out for loopholes in the system to get PR 'somehow' and remain in the country. This is a very very common practice and there's nothing strange about it in the international students community here. Call it good or bad - it exists, unfortunately. And I can't believe that government doesn't know about this stuff. I wouldn't shy away from the fact that most of these students are from Asian countries including Indian sub-continent.
 

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I watched that episode of Four Corners and it's pretty sickening. Many of the 417 visa holders involved in this are from Asian countries and have limited English skills, and these farms and labour contractors prey on that and their lack of knowledge of their labour rights, forcing them to work long hours for extremely low wages. (In fact, in one scene where some 417s in Queensland are demanding wages owed to them, the labour contractor says to the hostel manager not to send them any more "European workers" ostensibly because their English skills are better and they are more aware of their rights.) It's not just that they're getting underpaid and being forced to work long hours (although that in and of itself is horrendous), but female workers in particular are being targeted for sexual exploitation as well.

The irony is that these visas are designed for "cultural exchange". It's despicable that this sort of thing is happening and I wonder if anything will really be done about it since these people are basically invisible. The government is complicit since they are allowing the 417 visa program to continue even knowing that it's no longer being used for its intended purpose.

They're also taking away the tax threshold for working holidaymakers, which means they'll be paying tax at the higher non-resident rate. Which will force more of them to work for cash in hand and leave them vulnerable to being exploited even more.
I know of at least two french couple and an Irish guy who went to work on farm, on one occasion the farm owner agreed to pay them 10$ an hour and accommodation but it turned out the accommodation was inhabitable(broken doors, windows etc) and the money was less than what was originally agreed upon. They were threatened with no paperwork for their visa extension when they complained. Also, they had to work for long hours in the hot Aussie outback. It was a similar story on other two occasions as well.
 
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