Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Know your rights as a temporary worker in Australia

New guide outlines rights on pay, contracts, conditions and tax for Irish people on working holiday or 457 visas

Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 10:00


A new guide has been published to advise Irish people working in Australia on temporary visas on their rights.

Put together by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, with the support of the Claddagh Association in Perth and trade unions in Ireland and Australia, the document outlines the rights and entitlements for those on working holiday visas or employer-sposored 457 visas, with overviews on fair pay, employment contracts, national employment standards, and pension and tax liabilities.

Click on the image below to download the document:


Chairperson of Mandate Youth David Gibney, who spent two years in Melbourne, said Irish workers are in a precarious position when arriving in Australia.

“Irish workers in Australia on a 457 visa are often exploited due to the fact their visa is tied to their employer and the withdrawal of their contract can often mean having a number of weeks to either find alternative sponsorship or to exit the country.

“With the current economic environment in Ireland, including an exceptionally high youth unemployment rate, many young workers are afraid to ‘rock the boat’ and vindicate their rights at work for fear of losing their sponsorship and having to return home to such a bleak working environment.

“This document informs Irish workers of some of the very basic rights they have in Australia and we’re also urging them to join their relevant trade union on arrival so they can have access to professional representation should anything go wrong.

“The reason Australian workers have some of the best terms and conditions of employment anywhere in the world are because of the strength of their trade union movement and Irish workers should continue to support that movement.”

Are you aware of your rights as a temporary worker? Have you joined a trade union in Australia?