Visa-Workers Employment Advisory Service (VEAS)

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The Visa-Workers Employment Advisory Service (VEAS)

 VEAS is a free service targeting our assistance to overseas workers (all genders) employed under an eligible Australian work visa in Queensland.

DUE TO FEDERAL DEFUNDING THIS PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED

Free Call from landlines:
Telephone:
Fax:
07 3211 1449
Mobile:
0424 699 708 (text to get a call back).
Postal Address:
P.O. Box 10554
Adelaide Street
Brisbane
QLD 4000

IF YOU NEED URGENT ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL THE FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN ON 13 13 94 OR VISIT fwo.gov.au

 

VEAS is an initiative of the Queensland Working Women’s Service and is being trialled between August and November and has not been identified for government support or funding.

We are not a Migration Law Service like MIA (http://www.mia.org.au/) and RAILS (http://www.rails.org.au/) and you should contact these services if your enquiry is related to your visa or migration status.

 

We can provide advice on all aspects of employment and discrimination legislation.

CALL US IF YOU HAVE:

  • Concerns about underpayment of wages
  • Problems with exploitation and poor treatment
  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Knowing who to talk to or how to seek help
  • What happens if I make a complaint
  • What are the laws that protect me as an employee in Australia
  • Sexual harassment and sexual assault at work
  • Money for accommodation being taken from my wages
  • What happens when I see others being exploited
  • Being required to repay employer visa sponsorship costs

 

All people working in Australia, including overseas workers, are entitled to basic rights and protections in the workplace. Overseas or foreign workers are people who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, and may include ‘backpackers’ or young people on working holidays, seasonal workers, or international students. In order to work in Australia, they must have a temporary, long stay or permanent visa.

 

As of April, 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated there are 11,959,500 people in our nation’s total working population.** 7% of those people are temporary visa holders with work rights.*

 

All employees in the national workplace relations system receive 10 basic minimum entitlements known as the National Employment Standards (NES), which include:

 

  • Maximum weekly hours of work
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement

 

Overseas workers who are treated unfairly at work may be able to make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Fair Work Commission or the Anti-Discrimination Commissions.

 

The Fair Work Ombudsman have released the findings of its Inquiry into the wages and conditions of people working under the 417 Working Holiday Visa Program.* The Inquiry found that 417 visa holders:

  • are generally recruited through word of mouth, social media
  • are largely unaware of their workplace rights
  • almost a third did not receive payment for some or all of the work they did
  • 6% had to pay an employer to “sign off” on their regional work requirement*

Those visa holders from Asian countries were more likely to have money deducted from their pay without a verbal or written agreement.*

 

Overseas workers may face the following issues:

  • Deception about working conditions in Australia;
  • Dangerous working condition or little or no control over working conditions;
  • Excessive control over a person’s life including where they live, where they go, who they talk to and when they get their money;
  • Non-payment of wages or large debt to boss;
  • No control over place of work or hours of work;
  • Threats of deportation or violence.

Many of these workers believed that they have no power to ask for their rights.

 

One of the key reasons we understand that this exploitation takes place is because overseas workers are not expected to complain as they have had either implicit or real threats made against them by their employers. The importance of keeping their job often keeps them in these inferior conditions.

It takes courage to make a complaint but good outcomes can be achieved with the proper understanding of the process and some support to engage with these processes.

 

Case study one

 

A young Asian woman on a student visa was employed at a popular ethnic restaurant in Brisbane and had experienced various forms of sexually harassing behaviour by the chef for more than a year. The chef constantly coerced her to not reject or complain about his approaches as he indicated that he would sponsor her on a 457 visa. The employee’s mental health was significantly impacted and eventually she could not continue to work. WWQ assisted her in lodging a complaint with the Anti Discrimination Commissions Queensland and the matter eventually reached a sentiment whereby she received both monetary and non-monetary relief from the employer.

 

Case study two

 

Shanti was employed as a cafe assistant in a central Queensland cafe. She was on a bridging visa pending a decision about her migration status. She worked over 60 hours a week including doing housekeeping for her employer but did not want to confront the situation because she wanted 457 sponsorship from her employer if her long stay visa application was not successful. WWQ assisted her to approach her employer to inform him about correcting her conditions of employment and asking him not to use her uncertain status to bully and coerce her. The client informed us that things have improved and she is awaiting the outcome of her application before taking the next step.

 

Case study three

 

A young student studying English at the Gold Coast was coerced by the employer into accepting a lower than award wage and requiring her to work more than 20 hours a week in breach of the visa conditions. WWQ advised the student of the correct rate for payment and the process for making a claim for underpayment which the student intended to do once she obtained alternative employment.

 

Case study four

 

A Gold Coast employee was underpaid by her employer over 6 years to an amount of more than $120,000. When the employee complained to the Fair Work Ombudsman she was instantly dismissed. WWQ represented the client in an unfair dismissal claim and the matter settled for a significant portion of the underpayment.

 

FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN VIDEO ON WORKING IN AUSTRALIA

 

Client QLD, 2015.

I would like to take this opportunity and say many many thanks to you and your organisation for the help , support , advise and assistance you have provided me over the last 3 months since i contacted you.
I would not have had the strength and the knowledge and confidence i have had today and will have in the near and distance future if it was not for the knowledge and research i have had to follow through following your advice .

I thank you and may you continue helping people like me who needed help and could not scream from the roof top but have someone willing to offer advice just a phone call away .
2015-03-25T10:27:49+00:00
I would like to take this opportunity and say many many thanks to you and your organisation for the help , support , advise and assistance you have provided me over the last 3 months since i contacted you. I would not have had the strength and the knowledge and confidence i have had today and will have in the near and distance future if it was not for the knowledge and research i have had to follow through following your advice . I thank you and may you continue helping people like me who needed help and could not scream from the roof top but have someone willing to offer advice just a phone call away .

Manly West, QLD, 2015.

Thanks so much for your help and also fighting the good fight. Women are
so economically vulnerable during childbearing years and just do not have
the time, resources or energy to stand up for themselves without services
like QWWS.

2015-06-11T13:03:33+00:00
Thanks so much for your help and also fighting the good fight. Women are so economically vulnerable during childbearing years and just do not have the time, resources or energy to stand up for themselves without services like QWWS.

Waterford, QLD, 2015.

QWWS has been very helpful.

Thank you for the realistic truths as to what I was expected to be achieved. Thanks to all of you ladies.
2015-06-11T15:35:51+00:00
QWWS has been very helpful. Thank you for the realistic truths as to what I was expected to be achieved. Thanks to all of you ladies.

Fortitude Valley, QLD, 2015.

I would like to thank you for the time and effort you have put into my claim.

You have been very helpful and I would not have concluded an agreement without your hard work.


We have settled an agreement, not entirely what I wanted, but I am really happy about it and I can now close this matter and focus on my next step and future!


Thank you again, for listening, and having so much attention on my needs.

You have been the best!
5.0
2015-07-17T10:44:01+00:00
I would like to thank you for the time and effort you have put into my claim. You have been very helpful and I would not have concluded an agreement without your hard work. We have settled an agreement, not entirely what I wanted, but I am really happy about it and I can now close this matter and focus on my next step and future! Thank you again, for listening, and having so much attention on my needs. You have been the best!

Brackenridge, QLD, 2015.

"I don’t think I could have gone ahead with my complaint at ADCQ if I did not have the assistance of QWWS. The outcome was in my favour so I’m very thankful to QWWS for their assistance."
5.0
2015-09-23T11:00:19+00:00
"I don’t think I could have gone ahead with my complaint at ADCQ if I did not have the assistance of QWWS. The outcome was in my favour so I’m very thankful to QWWS for their assistance."

Rockhampton, 2015.

The Industrial Officer I got was quite simply amazing. Right from the very first conversation she calmed me, she helped me, and she gave me my confidence back.

I recently had my conciliation hearing with FWC, and my case was settled out of court which was a big relief to me as I didn't want this dragging on for months. I went into my conference knowing my rights, knowing the legislation, and knowing that I was right, and therefore determined to get an outcome I deserved.

I am very happy to say that I got the outcome I wanted, and deserved, but I could not have done it without WWQ supporting me. I am so incredibly grateful to the the Industrial Officer, and always will be. She is my hero.

I really hope I never have to use WWQ Services again, but to know that this service is available gives me peace of mind.
5.0
2015-10-02T15:49:51+00:00
The Industrial Officer I got was quite simply amazing. Right from the very first conversation she calmed me, she helped me, and she gave me my confidence back. I recently had my conciliation hearing with FWC, and my case was settled out of court which was a big relief to me as I didn't want this dragging on for months. I went into my conference knowing my rights, knowing the legislation, and knowing that I was right, and therefore determined to get an outcome I deserved. I am very happy to say that I got the outcome I wanted, and deserved, but I could not have done it without WWQ supporting me. I am so incredibly grateful to the the Industrial Officer, and always will be. She is my hero. I really hope I never have to use WWQ Services again, but to know that this service is available gives me peace of mind.

Plainland, 2015.

We are grateful to you and WWQ and we will recommend your services to family and friends.
5.0
2015-10-02T17:05:11+00:00
We are grateful to you and WWQ and we will recommend your services to family and friends.

Cairns,2016

My rep was confident, experienced, kind and very patient with me.
5.0
2016-02-01T15:11:48+00:00
My rep was confident, experienced, kind and very patient with me.

Brisbane, 2016

The Industrial Officer was supportive, kind and went out of her way to communicate what was needed to outsource information to support my case. The IO had a clear understanding of the facts and didn't give up and was professional at all times.
5.0
2016-02-19T15:16:49+00:00
The Industrial Officer was supportive, kind and went out of her way to communicate what was needed to outsource information to support my case. The IO had a clear understanding of the facts and didn't give up and was professional at all times.

Griffin, 2016

I could not have afforded legal advice; WWQ was a blessing and greatly contributed to a successful outcome with my return to work... I could not have asked more from the Industrial Officers, for their time, efforts and professionalism. The Industrial Officer was so patient with me when considering options, explaining legal terms and benefits to me. Excellent service.
5.0
2016-03-09T11:13:48+00:00
I could not have afforded legal advice; WWQ was a blessing and greatly contributed to a successful outcome with my return to work... I could not have asked more from the Industrial Officers, for their time, efforts and professionalism. The Industrial Officer was so patient with me when considering options, explaining legal terms and benefits to me. Excellent service.

Paddington, 2016

I appreciated your support and assistance along the way. There is no way I would have had the confidence to stand my ground and end up with the settlement that I did without WWQ's guidance. I found it an excellent service and thank you again.
5.0
2016-03-09T12:35:22+00:00
I appreciated your support and assistance along the way. There is no way I would have had the confidence to stand my ground and end up with the settlement that I did without WWQ's guidance. I found it an excellent service and thank you again.

Brisbane, 2016

"thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart, knowing you all definitely is one the best thing of my life during my stay in Australia and I am glad I am finally able to put the whole thing behind, without your help I can not kept fighting and made it to the end, thank you for stick up with my case  I would be forever grateful and continue to do what is right".
5.0
2016-08-30T10:25:26+00:00
"thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart, knowing you all definitely is one the best thing of my life during my stay in Australia and I am glad I am finally able to put the whole thing behind, without your help I can not kept fighting and made it to the end, thank you for stick up with my case  I would be forever grateful and continue to do what is right".

Cairns, 2016

WWQ were really understanding, and professional in the way they helped me.
5.0
2016-11-02T12:06:06+00:00
WWQ were really understanding, and professional in the way they helped me.

Helensvale, 2016

There are so many women out there that need WWQ
5.0
2016-11-02T12:32:39+00:00
There are so many women out there that need WWQ

Seventeen Mile Rocks, 2016

The women who work at WWQ are amazing, being able to talk about these issues with insightful women has made the difference to me.
5.0
2016-11-02T12:34:36+00:00
The women who work at WWQ are amazing, being able to talk about these issues with insightful women has made the difference to me.

Brighton, 2016

I had a really positive experience, the staff are excellent.
5.0
2016-11-02T12:38:10+00:00
I had a really positive experience, the staff are excellent.

Buderim, 2016

"the lady I had was full of knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised that WWQ did exist. Hadn't heard of WWQ before, the lady made alot of sense, and gave very practical advice."
5.0
2016-11-11T12:24:01+00:00
"the lady I had was full of knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised that WWQ did exist. Hadn't heard of WWQ before, the lady made alot of sense, and gave very practical advice."
4.0
17

 

*https://www.fairwork.gov.au/…/763/417-visa-inquiry-report.pdf.aspx <accessed 28th of October 2016>

** http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0 <acccessed 28th of October 2016>