Care workers across Australia have expressed outrage at a decision by the federal government to strip their right to access welfare benefits.
Key points:Key pointsThe Government announced plans to remove a range of measures to protect migrant careworker rightsThe changes will affect the 457 visaThe changes come after a number of migrant care staff were found to be in violation of their visaThe Government’s move is likely to be seen as an attack on migrant care worker rightsThe Federal Government announced a range to protect care worker’s rights to access entitlements to Medicare, health insurance and other welfare benefits, including their right of access to an employer-provided meeting place and meeting rooms.
It also announced that the 457 immigration visa, which was a key component of the government’s welfare reforms, would be scrapped.
But there was an unexpected twist.
The Government was told by the Migration Minister that the Department of Human Services would have to provide more migrant carers with accommodation and care facilities, and to establish a mechanism for migrant care to access a workplace where they could live together with their children and other carers.
The proposed changes have caused significant anger among migrant carer organisations, who said they would not be able to support migrant care work if the Government did not follow through.
“If we’re not going to provide care workers with a workplace, where they can live together, then they won’t have any opportunity to support themselves,” said Joanne Young, CEO of the Australian Federation of Carers (AFCC).
“That’s why we’re disappointed with the Government.”
The Government has been accused of abandoning migrant care services by its own decision.
In a submission to the parliamentary committee on welfare, the Minister for Human Services Michaelia Cash said: “The Department will provide accommodation for migrant workers with an additional $4.4 million to assist them with the accommodation, training and support required to be fully supported and integrated into Australian society.”
The submissions were made after the Department informed the Federal Government of plans to strip the 457 457 visa, and make it impossible for migrants to access other welfare entitlements, including a pension and a family tax benefit.
The Minister for Migration, James Merlino, said the Government would now “review the decision” and consider options to address the concerns.
“It’s an important decision to take in light of the ongoing national discussion about the impact of the 457 program on the lives of migrants and families, and I know that we will review the decision with the Minister in the coming days,” Mr Merlino said.
“In addition, we will continue to work with the Department to make sure that we’re delivering the right outcomes for migrant service providers.”
Topics:government-and-politics,immigration,workers,human-interest,migration,national-parliament,government-parlour,australiaFirst posted October 27, 2019 13:18:33Contact Joanne TaylorMore stories from Western Australia