Two Australian businesses have been exposed by the media in recent weeks after being issued with hefty fines from the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpaying staff on temporary visas.

A Tasmanian-based hardware store and cafe and a Melbourne Indian restaurant were both ordered to backpay staff and following an investigation from the industry watchdog earlier this month.

The statement of claim accuses him of promising to sign off on an Italian woman’s 88-day regional stint requirement in late 2013. He then allegedly paid her $270 for four weeks’ work. And when Fair Work inspectors came knocking, Harold Jackson allegedly told them his staff were guests or volunteers rather than workers.

“We will put to the court that five young backpackers from Italy, the UK and Japan were paid as little as the equivalent of $1.35 an hour when they were entitled to between $22 and $32 an hour, that’s depending on their shifts, and therefore were collectively underpaid almost $43,000.”

The cases have renewed claims for international workers to be better educated about their rights before being able to work in Australia.

The continued economic crisis in Europe has caused a significant increase in the number of backpackers travelling to Australia, which authorities claim have increased the number of instances of sponsorship obligation breach occuring.

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