SEEKING JUSTICE: Two 457 Visa holders reported Rockhampton-based business Alertvale Pty Ltd to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
SEEKING JUSTICE: Two 457 Visa holders reported Rockhampton-based business Alertvale Pty Ltd to the Fair Work Ombudsman. Contributed

Legal action over underpaid CQ 457 visa workers

A ROCKHAMPTON company is embroiled in legal action over alleged underpayments of 457 visa workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action in the Federal Circuit Court against Rockhampton-based business Alertvale Pty Ltd, which operates a number of businesses providing services in the mining and heavy industry sector.

After sponsoring two Filipino nationals working on 457 skilled migrant visas for more than a year, Alertvale allegedly underpaid them four weeks' entitlements totalling almost $10,000 after it terminated their employment without notice and effective immediately in February 2016.

The company said the decision was due to a "significant downturn in business".

It was also alleged that the company underpaid the wages-in-lieu-of-notice-of-termination the workers were entitled to and unlawfully deducted $1,915 from their wages for training.

After receiving requests for assistance from the workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman investigated, prompting Alertvale to back-pay the workers.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said a decision was made to commence legal action because vulnerable overseas workers had allegedly been deprived of a significant amount in termination entitlements.

"Alertvale has employed a number of 457 visa holders and it is important that we impress upon the company the need to pay these workers their full lawful entitlements," Ms Hannah said.

She said migrant workers often lacked awareness of their entitlements, experience language barriers and were reluctant to complain.

Alertvale faces penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention for multiple alleged contraventions of workplace laws. A hearing is listed in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane on June 4.


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