A growing body of evidence has recently accumulated demonstrating the extent of exploitative practices in Australian workplaces.

Studies also reveal that migrants residing in Australia on temporary visas (migrant workers) are particularly susceptible to such exploitation. There are worrying signs that the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate this problem as more temporary visa holders find themselves in vulnerable situations and become increasingly anxious to support themselves in any way possible.

This Issues Brief considers what was known about migrant worker exploitation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, how the pandemic has changed the outlook and threatens to worsen the situation, and what steps should be taken by government to combat migrant worker exploitation in the short and longer term.

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