The British nationals were in Australia on 417 working holiday visas and casually worked at a regional farm for four months in 2016. This was in order to complete the 88 days of regional work required to be eligible to stay in Australia for a second year.
The flat weekly rates they were paid fell “well short” of the employees’ legal minimum entitlements, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
This posed a problem for the workers, as working holiday visa holders must be able to demonstrate they have been remunerated in accordance with Australian workplace laws during their 88 days of regional work when applying for their second-year visa.
The farm had no history of non-compliance, however the regulator said it has been put on notice regarding its record-keeping and payslip obligations.
Last year, the regulator conducted an inquiry into the experiences of 417 working holiday visa-holders in regional Australia, finding the requirement to do 88 days of specified, regional paid work to qualify for a second-year visa was “unintentionally creating an environment where some unscrupulous operators are exploiting overseas workers, who are often reluctant to complain.”