Temporary migration system broken: parliamentary inquiry

Australia's temporary migration system is "broken" and allowing the exploitation of foreign workers to flourish, according to the findings of a parliamentary inquiry.

The review was set up two years ago to examine the impact of temporary migration on the economy, jobs, and workplace rights after a series of wage theft scandals.

Labor Senator Raff Ciccone, who chairs the Select Committee on Temporary Migration, said prior to the pandemic, Australia had the second biggest temporary workforce in the OECD.

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The temporary migrant scheme is rife with issues, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

"With international borders closed, COVID-19 has exposed the dependence our economy has on temporary migration," he told parliament.

Senator Ciccone said the committee heard "significant evidence" of worker exploitation, as well as stories of farmers struggling to secure workers during harvest seasons.

"There is one story that runs true through almost every one of them and that is the story of a broken system that is failing to deliver for those that need it to."

The inquiry has made 40 recommendations, including granting new powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman, increasing penalties for wage theft, and banning dodgy operators from hiring temporary workers.

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Farmers are struggling to find workers without bringing in people from overseas.

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