Migrant workers' law 'misses the target,' labour hire companies say

New legislation to accredit companies will not prevent visa scams, the industry says.   Recruitment and Consulting Services Association of Australia and New Zealand's John Harland talks about migrant workers on NBR Radio and on demand on MyNBR Radio.

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Recruiting and labour hire companies say they shouldn’t be the target of new legislation planned for next year to monitor migrant work schemes.

The Labour Hire Accreditation Scheme is due to take effect on January 1, 2016.

But the industry’s organisation, the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association of Australia and New Zealand, says all this will do is police the law abiders and let lawbreakers roam free.

Last week, the government revealed that a thousand Filipinos working on dairy farms might be caught up in a visa scam.

The association’s New Zealand’s chairman, John Harland, says the scam highlights the inadequacies of the government’s Essential Skills work visa regulations.

He says the organisation has been lobbying the government and the immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse unsuccessfully, about the narrow focus of an accreditation scheme that is now required only of labour hire companies. 

“[The government has] the chance now to crack down right across a number of industries to protect migrant workers, yet all they are doing is policing labour hire companies and not focusing on the poor practices of employers and other parties across all of the different strands that make up the migrant worker hire industry,” Mr Harland says.

He cites the visa scam as an example of the illegal and unethical practices that occur mainly outside the labour hire industry, illustrating how the new legislation’s focus on accrediting labour hire companies misses the point.

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