Inquiries into 417 visas to be expanded

A SENATE inquiry is to be expanded and the Victorian Government will launch its own inquiry into the exploitation of workers on Working Holiday 417 visas, in the wake of Monday night's Four Corners program.

It exposed how foreign nationals on 417 visas were being underpaid and housed in "slave-like conditions" by unscrupulous labour hire firms and prompted wide reaction yesterday.

While Labor, the Greens and unions called for new investigations, Nationals backbencher Keith Pitt, who was featured in the program, said the time for inquiries was over.

He reiterated his call for the establishment of a national, multi-department taskforce to investigate the issue, saying current laws simply needed to be enforced.

Mr Pitt's position was backed by the National Farmers Federation and horticulture industry group Growcom, which both said the law-breakers were the exception, not the rule, in the farming industry.

Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said the Federal Government was already investigating compliance problems in the 417 program.

She said a recent reform to ensure payslips were provided would help prevent worker exploitation.

- APN NEWSDESK


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