Migration Amendment (Protecting Migrant Workers) Bill 2021
The submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in relation to its inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Protecting Migrant Workers) Bill 2021 (Bill) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The Law Council welcomes and supports legislative reform to strengthen existing protocols to address worker exploitation involving migrant workers in Australia.
Migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitative workplace practices, and often possess little to no means of redress due to legal, social and economic impediments, as identified in the Report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce (March 2019) (Taskforce Report).1
The Law Council considers the proposals in the Bill are good faith attempts to give effect to several recommendations in the Taskforce Report directed at strengthening the regulation of employers of migrant workers, including through broadening criminal sanctions.
This submission identifies the aspects of the Bill which the Law Council supports and those which it considers could be improved. The submission builds upon a submission made to the Department of Home Affairs (Department) regarding an Exposure Draft of the Bill.2
The Law Council notes that the Department replied in writing to the Law Council’s submission regarding its proposals and is pleased that amendments have been made to the Bill which reflect a number of the Law Council’s recommendations.
1 Professor Allan Fels AO and Professor David Cousins AM, Report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce (March 2019).
2 Law Council of Australia, ‘Exposure Draft Migration Amendment (Protecting Migrant Workers) Bill 2021’ (24 August 2021).