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Mining Company Faces Legal Issues regarding Unpaid 457 Visa Workers

May 2018, 23
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A company based in Rockhampton is presently facing severe legal action regarding underpayment to temporary overseas workers. The Fair Work Ombudsman initiated a legal action against Alertvale Pty Ltd, in the Federal Circuit Court. The company manages businesses in the heavy industry and mining sector. It had sponsored two Filipino nationals on 457 visas for over one year. In February 2016 the business finished the employment without serving a notice. Subsequently, it underpaid them entitlements for four weeks. The workers combined value of total underpayments is $10,000.

A spokesperson for Alertvale, said that the termination of their employment happened owing to major business slump. There was another claim, that the company not only, did not pay the additional wages to the workers, for which they were entitled to, because of the non-servicing of notice of termination, but also, deducted $1,915 from the wages for training in an unlawful manner.

Workers approach the FWO

Furthermore the workers later approached the FWO seeking assistance. After investigating the matter it commenced legal action. Finally Alertvale made the payment to the workers. Kristen Hannah, Acting FWO, said that it is taking this decision to start legal proceedings owing to the vulnerability of the overseas workers. Moreover, the amount of unpaid and deprived wages was also significant.

Presently, Alertvale gives employment to several 457 visa holders. Impressing upon the company the needs to pay their full legal entitlements to such workers is important. Hannah also stated that several migrant workers were not aware of their legal entitlements in Australia. Additionally, there are major language barriers which affect them to lodge complaints.

Moreover, this case also serves as a reminder to the employers that they must to ensure to meet the sponsorship requirements of an overseas worker, while terminating employment.

The next step

In case of failure to pay the entitled wages to the workers Alertvale will face a penalty of $54,000 per breach under the Australian law for workplaces. A hearing is scheduled to commence in Federal Circuit Court on June 4th 2018.

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