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Low pay ads target migrant workers


Job advertisements offering below minimum wage have highlighted rampant wage theft from migrant workers in Australia.


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A new Unions NSW report analyses 3000 foreign language ads with 88 per cent of those quoting a pay rate below the legal pay.

A staggering 91 per cent of job ads in Vietnamese were below minimum wage, while 88 per cent of Korean and Chinese ads failed to meet the mark.

The majority of Nepalese (86 per cent), Portuguese (84 per cent) and Spanish (76 per cent) ads were below minimum awards.

The lowest rate of pay advertised was $8 an hour for a nail technician, while the second lowest rate was $10 an hour with 38 jobs offered at that level.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey said it should be a legal requirement for job ads to offer the minimum rate of pay to create a powerful baseline wage expectation.

He’s using the findings in the report to call for federal government funding for unions and employer groups to investigate wage compliance.

“Australia is among the world’s wealthiest nations yet we have allowed an apartheid to emerge in our workplaces,” Morey said on Monday.

“If you are a permanent resident you have workplace rights, but if you are temporary you are vulnerable to wage theft.”

The report recommends scrapping the 20-hour-a-week work cap for international students to reduce pressure on people to take cash-in-hand jobs.

Unions NSW wants the federal government to create a “firewall” between the immigration department and workplace investigator so workers aren’t worried about losing visas.

The Morrison government last week announced plans to make the most egregious forms of wage theft a criminal offence carrying up four years’ jail.

Individuals could be fined $1.1 million while companies could cop penalties of up to $5.5 million.

Morey said some bosses had seized on the coronavirus pandemic to exploit vulnerable workers further, with more than one million visa holders unable to fully enforce workplace rights.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman is also a shambles. It doesn’t understand its brief and doesn’t have the resources to stamp out exploitation,” he said.


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