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New federal government changes announced to stem exploitation of migrant workers in Australia, but more needs to be done.

Last week the Federal Labor Government announced its new Migration Strategy in an effort to end rampant migrant worker exploitation in Australia.

This strategy removes certain visa conditions that effectively bond workers to their employers. The new Skills in Demand visa will enable temporary skilled migrant workers mobility in the labour market – meaning they are free to leave exploitative situations or find a new job with better pay and conditions. The changes will also see more pathways for migrant workers to live permanently in Australia after decades of temporary uncertainty for thousands of people.

There is also a commitment to review the “backpacker visa” as part of this strategy, a visa that has allowed employers to exploit and underpay many UWU members across the country.​

The focus that the Federal Government is bringing to tackle migrant exploitation is a welcome step in the right direction and UWU along with the ACTU and other unions will continue to push for exploitative features to be designed out of the system.