The Australian Workers Union is calling for a review of the country’s immigration program amid claims four men were under paid while on wrongly obtained short term working visas.
The Filipino men were employed for 18 months to work as maintenance painters on two oil rigs owned by by Danish company Maersk on the North West shelf of Western Australia.
The Australian labour union AWU initially accused Maersk of paying Filipino workers less than $3 dollars an hour.
Maersk denied the claims, saying the Perth based labour hire company Survey Spec was responsible.
Maersk has since sacked Survey Spec amid the allegations.
General Manager Martin Flojgaard says Maersk was not aware of the issue until two of the workers contacted the AWU.
“Our processes should have been tightened up and we certainly regret that this sort of thing happened,” he said.
The AWU’s Stephen Price says immigration officials should not have allowed Survey Spec to bring the men to Australia on 456 visas.
“It’s a short-term business visa for specialist skill requirements so these guys actually had painter/specialist on their employment contracts,” he said.
“If the immigration department had of been doing its job, the guys wouldn’t of been in that situation because they wouldn’t have got visas; they wouldn’t of been able to come over here.”
Mr Price also says both Maersk and Survey Spec have a lot to answer for.
“Both of them denied any prior knowledge to it until we raised it and that’s just not acceptable,” he said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating the claims.
The ABC has contacted Survey Spec for comment.