An investigation by Fairfax has uncovered allegations that franchisees at Domino’s Pizza have been underpaying workers and selling visa sponsorships to foreign students and recent immigrants.
The Fairfax investigation included a phone recording between a franchisee and a prospective employer, saying the prospective employee would need to pay over $100,000 in exchange for a visa sponsorship by the company.
Former Domino’s workers have claimed the practice is common in the pizza chain.
“I know of one person who is sponsored and works 60 hours a week and gets paid for 40 hours,” said one former Domino’s worker, Azrael Yin.
These workers are placed in a vulnerable position because if they complain about their circumstances, their visa sponsorship could be revoked by the employer, leading to possible deportation unless they can find another sponsor.
Under Australian immigration law, businesses cannot ask for, receive, offer or provide a benefit for visa sponsorship. A breach of these visa obligations could see a business face up to two years of imprisonment and fines up to $324,000.
It is possible for immigration and employment law compliance penalties from the actions of a franchisee to transfer to the franchisor, therefore businesses must take precautions to ensure immigration compliance at all locations of its business operations, whether in the hospitality industry, resources industry or other business industries.
As news of the investigation spread, Domino’s experienced a 15 per cent fall in share prices.