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Fact sheet

Fact Check: Are one in 10 workers in Australia on temporary work visas?

Temporary visas Trade unions Employment

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has called for an end to Australia's uncapped temporary working visa system. In a speech to the National Press Club, she claimed that one in 10 workers. workers in the Australian labour force were on temporary work visas. But her claim is unsubstantiated. She assumes that all temporary visa holders with the right to work are actually working. Experts told Fact Check there was no evidence to either support or contradict that assumption. Unpublished data provided to Fact Check by the Australian Bureau of Statistics focused on employment rates of temporary migrants, but a number of caveats rendered the information unhelpful for the purpose of this Fact Check. In looking at each temporary visa category with work rights attached, Fact Check was unable to determine how many temporary visa holders were likely to be working in Australia. Most temporary visa holders are not required to work while in Australia, and data is not kept on their working habits. Other data does not separate children from other dependants, making it difficult to determine how many of these temporary visa holders are of working age, as well as how many are choosing to work.
Verdict: Unsubstantiated

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