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News Media Releases WA unions condemn visa rorts on major resource projects
WA unions condemn visa rorts on major resource projects
Monday, 28 November 2011 09:44

WA unions have strongly condemned persistent visa rorts on the Gorgon project and are calling for a full investigation by the Department of Immigration.

In the latest example to come to light workers on the Highland Navigator vessel were coached by their employer in how to lie to immigration officials about the purpose of their visit.

The Highland Navigator is operated by a subcontractor on the multi-billion dollar Gorgon project. Workers on this ship have been working on visas intended for short business trips.

The issue of overseas workers being brought into Australia on dodgy visas has been being raised by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) for some time.

Unions fear the latest example is just the tip of the iceberg.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said union concerns on this matter are two-fold.

“Unions are concerned firstly for the welfare of the workers operating on dodgy visas. These workers are being exploited, they’re aren’t being paid the Australian-standard rates and they don’t have access to workers’ compensation or any of the other instruments we have in place in Australia to protect peoples’ rights at work.

“The other major issue here is that unscrupulous employers are using these exploited overseas workers to undercut local wages and conditions.

“Workers operating on these short-stay business visas are likely doing work that could be done by Australian workers. Instead of employing local workers or training up local workers to perform these jobs, companies are looking to exploited overseas labour.

“We continue to see the resource companies shirking their responsibility to train local jobs and now some of them are taking it a step further and exploiting temporary overseas workers to do these jobs on the cheap.

“When was the last time you heard a kid say they got an apprenticeship with Chevron or Woodside? These companies don’t invest in training locals and now we find out that they are using workers on dodgy visas instead.

“This is a disgraceful situation and one that the WA union movement will work hard to address. All workers on WA projects deserve fair pay and conditions and all West Australians deserve an opportunity to participate in our state’s resource boom.”

WA unions will rally in the Perth CBD at 12pm on Tuesday (November 29) in protest over visa rorts and a lack of training opportunities on major resource projects.

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