THE Fair Work Ombudsman is making a difference for new arrivals to Australia with the development of six videos to help visa holders understand their workplace rights.
Each video has been produced in 16 languages other than English and builds on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s commitment to remove barriers that prevent migrant workers from accessing workplace assistance.
The initiative follows the launch of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s International Student Strategy on September 25.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said research commissioned during the development of the strategy indicated that expanding and enhancing the information available to migrant workers in-language would improve their awareness of their workplace rights.
“We are working hard to break down these barriers for both migrant workers and new arrivals who are interested in starting businesses in Australia,” Ms Hannah said.
The new and updated resources are available at www.fairwork.gov.au/languages.
The new videos are available in 16 languages:
· Chinese (Simplified)
· Chinese (Traditional)
“Migrant workers have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia,” Ms Hannah said.
“In addition to factors such as a lack of awareness of workplace rights and limited English skills, cultural barriers can also mean that migrant workers can be more vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace.
“We want to make sure all people working in Australia, including those from overseas, are aware of their rights and know where and how to seek help.”
Ms Hannah said conduct the agency sees against migrants and visa-holders is often serious and highly exploitative.
Last financial year almost half of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s cases filed in court involved a visa holder.
Yet visa holders can be reluctant to speak up, fearing that doing so could compromise their future job prospects or lead to the cancellation of their visa.
“Visa-holders can be reassured that in line with an agreement between the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, they can seek our assistance without fear of having their visa cancelled,” Ms Hannah said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman recently launched its popular Anonymous Report function in 16 languages other than English to make it easier for migrant workers to report workplace concerns.
Ms Hannah said she will continue to encourage visa holders to seek free help from the agency if they experience any issues while working in Australia.
“We want migrant workers to know that they can come to us for free advice and assistance and to report their concerns. We are here to help,” Ms Hannah said.
Any employee or employer who has questions or concerns about their workplace rights and obligations can obtain free advice and assistance by visiting www.fairwork.gov.au or calling the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 59 and information on the website is available in up to 30 different languages.