1 May 2008


In a pastoral letter to mark the feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1st, the Australian Catholic Bishops have highlighted the contribution of migrant workers to the Australian economy and drawn attention to the problems that many of them face.

Over the past two years reports of exploitation of migrant workers have included allegations of underpayment, unpaid overtime, unsafe working conditions resulting in injury or death, racial abuse and threats, and unfair termination leading to deportation.

The bishops urge the Australian Government to protect Australian wages and conditions of work, to improve monitoring and compliance with working visa conditions and to protect vulnerable migrant workers from exploitation.

The full text of the bishops' letter can be found at the website of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Australia is also yet to sign or ratify the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1990.

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