Labour exploitation in the Australian construction industry: risks and protections for temporary migrant workers


There have been a number of alleged cases of labour exploitation involving temporary migrant workers in Australia since the late 1990s. The Australian construction industry was identified as particularly problematic, with allegations of deception in relation to work contracts, lack of compliance with employment standards, limited autonomy and threats of abuse levelled. In response to these concerns, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart Josephite Counter- Trafficking Project and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney commissioned the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake research on labour exploitation in the Australian construction industry, with a particular focus on temporary migrant workers.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Temporary migrant workers and the Australian construction industry
  • Risks for migrant workers in the Australian construction industry
  • Protections: availability and access
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Appendix A: International frameworks and Australian legislation
  • Appendix B: Stakeholder interview questions
  • Appendix C: ILO indicators of trafficking for labour exploitation