Working Holiday Makers (WHM) will now need payslips to apply for a second visa

Following the furore of allegations of worker exploitation of WHM visa holders, as of 31 August 2015, in order to apply for a second visa after undertaking the necessary three months of regional work, pay slips must be provided as evidence. There are, however, transitional arrangements for people who are currently working voluntarily, or what is sometimes known as WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) work. Pay slips, as it is hopefully well known, is a requirement for any employer to give to an employee.

It has been suggested that by doing this, farms and other beneficiaries of the programme may be adversely affected as the labour market for regional work will shrink. Many rural employers provide entitlements not found in common employment agreements, such as accommodation. However, there is no suggestion that an employer could not charge a reasonable amount for housing WHM visa holders, should the WHM want to stay on the agricultural property of their employer. It would certainly be wise that any such agreement would be in writing to the benefit of both parties.

In the interest of transparency it seems that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s response is a sensible approach to tackling exploitation of foreigners. This is also good timing, especially since rorting of employee rights and entitlements of overseas nationals (WHM visa or not) seems to be the flavour of the day for the media.