A new study has found that Australian employers and managers, often of Indian ethnicity, frequently exploit their fellow Indian blue-collar workers who come here on temporary visas and often face harsh working conditions.
A three-year-long qualitative study by Macquarie University, titled ‘Precarious experiences of Indians in Australia on 457 temporary work visas’, found that Indian visa holders faced numerous problems with regard to securing work, and their treatment at work once they were employed.
Workers in non-unionised, sub-contracting or small businesses employed by ‘co-ethnics’ are the most vulnerable and the worst cases involved Indian-owned enterprises such as restaurants.
The most vulnerable group identified in the study were individual workers in small Indian restaurants.
It was also found that in this case, Indian employers justified their treatment of their 457-visa workers saying that “this is what these workers are used to in their own country.”
Problems such as long hours, up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, without paid overtime, being forced to work in unsafe conditions, being forced to perform tasks they were not trained to do, and sick leave being deducted from annual leave despite medical certificates, were also found among the workers holding the 457 visas.