HRCA Chairperson, Mr Andrew Naylor outlined HRCA proposals for fostering the human rights of workers who are in Australia on temporary visas in a statement to last year’s Senate Enquiry into Temporary Migration. The abuse of human rights of these workers has been an increasing focus of public debate and media reports in Australia, including high profile cases of violation of rights of international students. The Human Rights Council of Australia proposals included the following measures to address violation of temporary worker rights.
- ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
- removal or relaxation of the requirement for 457 visa holders to be employed by a single employer in favour of greater mobility within a particular industry or between a number of potential employers within a specified industry sector;
- improved oversight of employer-sponsors and enforcement of employment terms and conditions among employer-sponsors;
- an audit of the interplay or relationship between employment laws and visa conditions with a view to identifying other practical barriers to temporary migrant workers being able to fully realise their rights.
Mr Naylor’s statement, also noted:
The Convention does not create any new substantive rights not already provided for in the Universal Declaration of Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Australia is already a party to or has ratified all of these major human rights treaties. The value of the Migrant Workers Convention is that it recognises that migrant workers are an especially vulnerable population who are at special risk of not having their human rights observed and protected.
The Human Rights Council of Australia submission included a formal submission and draw attention to earlier HRCA submission’s on migrant worker’s rights.