ECCV calls for written clarification on visa amnesty for 7-Eleven workers










ECCV Chairperson, Eddie Micallef

The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) commends the federal government for reported comments that it is prepared to extend a visa amnesty to overseas students who have worked for 7-Eleven, but is calling for a written guarantee in the face of uncertainty about details of the proposal.

ECCV Chairperson, Eddie Micallef, said there appeared to be some uncertainty about the proposed amnesty because of what appeared to be recent conflicting comments coming from various government representatives.

“Many of the people who have been caught up in the 7-Eleven scandal have been overseas students or newly arrived migrants.

“It has been well reported in the media that many of these students may have contravened their visa requirements by working more hours than they were legally allowed so as to make up for the under-award payments made by 7-Eleven franchisees.

“Recent comments by the Immigration Department deputy secretary Michael Manthorpe, who has been reported as telling a Senate estimates committee hearing that ”˜no action would be taken against’ affected students, are encouraging.

“Yet we also have media reports which quote a spokesman from the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, saying that there would be no general amnesty offered to 7-Eleven workers.

“The apparent contradiction on this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Many of the former and current 7-Eleven workers are overseas students or from newly arrived migrant communities and they need certainty around this issue.”

Mr Micallef said the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and the Salvation Army had recently appeared before a public hearing into the recently released Productivity Commission draft report on Australia’s Workplace Relations Framework.

“FECCA Chair Joe Caputo has been quoted as saying that it was critical to ensure that temporary migrant workers are protected, particularly given the widespread reports of significant exploitation of international students in 7-Eleven franchises across Australia, which is something the ECCV fully supports.

“Separately to this, an ECCV submission to the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Relations Framework Inquiry in March this year highlighted the disadvantages experienced by vulnerable workers from culturally diverse backgrounds, such as recent migrants, refugees and international students.

“The best way to overcome this uncertainty and to obtain as much information about what has actually occurred is to give overseas students who have worked for 7-Eleven and other organisations who have underpaid their staff, a formal written guarantee that their visas will not be taken away.

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