The ACTU has set up a confidential hotline after hearing more complaints about “unacceptable abuse” of the 457 visa system.
In a statement Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver said the union had seen one example of an engineer made to work, without training, on tube bender machinery that was old and unfamiliar.
Along with being placed in difficult situations Oliver said the worker had been on the receiving end of “life-threatening” pranks by his foreman.
“457 visa-holders rely on their employer for their visa, and for any future move to permanent residency. This means they will not speak up if they are being underpaid or working in unsafe conditions,” he said.
“That’s why we are reaching out to these communities. This Confidential Hotline for 457 visa-holders will put them in contact with union officers and government resources who can help them find out about their rights.”
The ACTU said it had also heard reports of a worker employed for painting and sandblasting being made to clean office toilets, his employer's house, and perform other menial tasks.
Abuse of the 457 system has long been a sore point for unions, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and last month workers in WA held a mass demonstration in Perth over the issue.