If you get one of the skilled visas that let you live and work in Australia, you can rest assured you will be respected and treated well as an employee. Committed to its core values, the country has laws and institutions that are protecting workers against all unethical practices from exploitation, discrimination and bullying to the unsafe work environment. Here is everything you need to know about your rights!
Working in a Safe Environment
Australian employers are obliged by law to provide a safe working environment. If necessary, they need to provide appropriate protective equipment. Your employer has the responsibility to minimise the chances of injuries and illness at the workplace. This includes providing adequate facilities and equipment. Providing important information, supervision of workers and monitoring health is also crucial for maintaining a safe environment. Since 2020, this also includes special health and safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protection Against Discrimination, Bullying, Harassment, Exploitation and More
As an employee in Australia holding one of the skilled nominated visas or business visas, your rights are protected under a workplace law (The Fair Work Act or specific state or territory legislation). You should be safe from any form of discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation, colour, race and religion, age and mental or physical disability, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, family responsibilities, marital status or pregnancy. You are also protected against coercion, pressure and adverse actions such as threats, violence or being treated differently from other workers. Bullying and harassment at work are also prohibited by the Fair Work Act.
All workers in Australia are entitled to fair pay rates. You should get at least the minimum wage and be paid for all of your work. The minimum wage depends on the industry, type of employment and other factors. You can calculate pay rates using the Pay Calculator provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
What Happens With Your Visa if Your Rights Aren’t Respected?
If you lose employment because of unfair or unsafe working conditions, this won’t affect your visa. You’ll be able to apply for other jobs and find an employer who will treat you right. Even if you fail to comply with your visa requirements, you won’t be detained, deported or deprived of your right to stay in Australia.
Who can Help You?
If you have experienced exploitation or if your rights were breached, you are encouraged to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. They will assist you with your enquiries and provide professional assistance. The Department of Home Affairs collaborates with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure foreign nationals are protected from exploitation. Any evidence you submit will help you ensure your visa does not get cancelled unless there are other bases for its cancellation.
Rights and benefits of workers in Australia come with obligations and responsibilities. You need to understand the conditions of your employment and contribute to maintaining a safe, healthy and fair working environment. As long as you are respecting the rules, you will be in no danger of losing the privileges that come with your visa and be in the position to work your way towards permanent residency and citizenship.