Another Indian migrant labor dependent on his employer for Visa sponsorship got cheated.

Tue 22 Jan 2019, Australia

Why Indian migrants often lose visa when they stand up for their rights?

No doubt, news on the cases of exploitation are selling like hot cakes. One another case can be seen and is under investigation with an Indian migrant working as a retailer in Australia.

Harjinder has complained to the Fair Work Ombudsman that she kept working, even when her pay didn’t come. She stated that after her husband diagnosed with cancer, she still continued to work. The couple is forced to return to India but the complaint so registered will continue to investigate her claim.

Harjinder found work in retail with an employer in Queensland. His employer agreed to sponsor her for a 187 visa which is a migrant program for skilled workers in regional areas.

“He said I will pay you full wages and superannuation but he never did, he never paid me a dollar,” Harjinder said. “He said he will pay me later, pay me later but never paid me.”

“Now he is asking me for money, for money if he wants to process my application. He is a cancer patient, my husband, we have no money to pay him.”

Harjinder claims that she owes more than estimates $60,000. She showed the records that she kept which clearly states about her working hours – mostly 7 am to 7 pm with an extended break in between – for about 19 months. Her frequent trips to the hospital to see her husband has also been shown in records. She had to miss shifts for which she was not being paid and her employer took advantage of this.

“He asked me to pay him cash and then he will put in my [visa] application. He knows [my husband] needs good treatment in Australia.”

Harjinder registered a complained to the Fair Work ombudsman with adding the detailed records of her work history. Migrant workers are often totally dependent on their employer for visa sponsorship. This condition is known to lead to exploitation. Often people lose their visa when they stand up for their rights and just in 28 days they have to leave the country.

Giri Sivaraman (the head of employment law at Maurice Blackburn ) says “It happens more often than people realize. ”  he further stated that “The issue is that these workers are particularly vulnerable. They need the visa to be able to work and they’re desperate to keep the visa. They’re under enormous pressure and can be manipulated by the employer.” The immigration authorities are mostly unconcerned about employment problems says Sivaraman. Such cases call for a strong need for criminal wage theft laws.