The Fair Work Ombudsman will conduct a review of the wages and conditions of overseas workers in Australia on the 417 working holiday visa.
The 417 visa is a temporary visa given to young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to
two years. To be eligible for the second year, visa holders must undertake 88 days of work in a
designated regional area and in certain industries during their first year.
The restaurant industry accounts for the highest number of litigations involving overseas workers, followed by the retail, fast food and cleaning industries.
Figures obtained by the Fair Work Ombudsman show more than 128,000 417 working holiday visas were issued in the first half of the 2013-14 financial year. Of these, one in five was a second year visa, a 30 per cent increase in the same period the previous year.
Fair Work is also following up allegations the 88-day requirement is being exploited by some operators to attract free labour, as reported by Hospitality Magazine.
In the past two financial years, the Fair Work Ombudsman has received about 2000 requests for assistance from workers identifying themselves as 417 visa holders. According to Hospitality Magazine, this accounts for one in three requests from all visa holders.
Earlier this year, peak industry body Restaurant & Catering Australia said it welcomed news the Federal Government will review the 457 visa program, arguing it’s the first stage in addressing labour shortages in the hospitality industry.