Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has urged Irish workers in Australia to join trade unions in order to protect themselves from exploitation.
Deputy Doherty is currently on a speaking tour in Australia where he has met many Irish immigrants and has said there are concerns about Irish workers being exploited.
He said: “There is evidence that some Irish people are being exploited in the workplace in Australia as they are dependent on their employer for their visa to be maintained, extended and possibly converted to permanent residency.
“Any workers beholden to their employer for their residency rights are naturally going to be vulnerable to exploitation and reluctant to speak up if their rights are being abused
“Issues facing Irish and other migrant workers in Australia include underpayment, the denial of entitlements such as leave and workers compensation and diminished safety standards on sites where migrant workers are concentrated.
“Sinn Féin encourages Irish workers in Australia and all those planning to emigrate here to make sure their rights are protected. The best way to do this is to join a union as soon as they arrive in the country. Trade unions can provide protection against underpayment, denial of entitlements, unsafe conditions and threats of deportation by an employer.
“We have engaged with trade unions during this trip to investigate what more can be done to address the issue.
“Also one major issue that we are finding is that there are adverts for work and to rent a house including notices saying ‘no Irish need apply’ – apparently they have been on gumtree.”