It’s becoming wide spread across the industry that Fruit Pickers and Working Holiday Makers are becoming more tolerant of working conditions particurlay ones that are trying to get the “88 days” of specified work for their second Working Holiday Visa.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is cracking down on the exploitation of working holiday makers and fruit pickers on the 417 visas.
What the Ombudsman Said
The Ombudsman, Natalie James was quoted saying “The thing that really caught our eye was a couple of years ago, in 2011/12, we recovered around $67,000 for people working under these arrangements, and in the last financial year that’s just gone, it’s almost $350,000, so that’s almost five times as much in just a couple of years.
“Complaints from 417 visas now are almost a third of complaints from all overseas workers and visa holders and we’re seeing an increase both in the number of people coming out on these visas, and the number of complaints.
We hear things like $8 an hour, or even less,” Ms James said.
“There was an example with some strawberry farmers in Caboolture last year where I think they were being paid less than $4 an hour. I think they were on piece rate, so it worked out that they were being paid per punnet, but it was a very low amount.”
The Ombudsman says now Farmers will be liable for the underpayment of workers on their farms regardless of how they were employed. Whether it be directly through them, a contractor or employment agency if the employee has been underpaid during their farm job they will be hearing straight from their office.
What do you Think?
Do you think this change will have a positive effect on the industry? It’s a step in the right direction but what we need is everyone being more transparent and reporting any issues or bad experiences they have .
Have you been exploited?
This story was originallhy featured on ABC Rural.