CRACKDOWN: Government plans to protect foreign visa workers from exploitation labelled ‘window dressing’.
CRACKDOWN: Government plans to protect foreign visa workers from exploitation labelled ‘window dressing’. WILLIAM WESTAFP

Plan to protect visa workers fails to impress union

THE Turnbull Government's plan for a ministerial working party to crack down on exploitation of foreign visa workers has been described as farcical by a union leader.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash established the Ministerial Working Group on Thursday to consider further policy options to protect vulnerable foreign workers in Australia.

But CFMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor said the policy was "window dressing" given the government intended to bring in more foreign workers whose "exploitation would be entrenched" through the proposed free trade agreement with China.

"There are 1.3 million overseas visa holders with working rights in Australia, at a time of skyrocketing youth unemployment," the union boss said.

"A ministerial committee is not going to fix the problem when the door is being left open for more temporary overseas workers and less regulation under the China Australia Free Trade Agreement."

Ms Cash said foreign workers were important contributors to the workforce and the government wanted to ensure they continued to view Australia as a great destination.


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