How do we stamp out exploitation of migrant workers?  - Grattan Institute

Grattan Institute’s recent report shows that the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia remains widespread. It’s a problem that urgently needs fixing. So what should our governments do to stamp out exploitation of workers?

In this special Grattan Institute Webinar event, some of Australia’s leading migration and employment policy experts will discuss how to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers, including changes to visas to make migrants less vulnerable to exploitation, stepping up the enforcement of workplace laws to better protect all workers, and helping workers to seek redress for underpayment.


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Brendan Coates


Brendan is the Economic Policy Program Director at Grattan Institute, where he leads our work on tax and transfer system reform, retirement incomes and superannuation, housing, macroeconomics, and migration. Brendan is a former macro-financial economist with the World Bank in Indonesia, and consulted to the Bank in Latin America. He previously worked in a number of roles with the Australian Treasury.

Joanna Howe


Joanna is an expert on the legal regulation of temporary labour migration. Her edited collection Temporary Labour Migration in the Global Era (with Rosemary Owens) is the seminal international work on the regulation of transnational migration flows between countries on a temporary basis. In 2022 she was appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs as part of an expert panel to review the Australian migration program.

Sharmilla Bargon


Sharmilla is a Senior Solicitor at Redfern Legal Centre in Sydney, and the coordinator for the Employment Rights Legal Service, a partnership with the Inner City and Kingsford Legal Centres that provides free legal advice to migrants and other vulnerable workers across NSW. Before Redfern Legal Centre, Sharmilla mainly worked in corporate law, with one year at the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Allan Fels


Allan is a Professor of Law and of Economics at the Universities of Melbourne and Monash. He was Chair of the Commonwealth Governments Migrant Workers Taskforce. Allan was Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its predecessor bodies, the Trade Practices Commission and the Prices Surveillance Authority, from 1989 until 2003, and the foundation Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government from 2003 until 2013.