Greens MP Adam Bandt will seek a special hearing of the Senate inquiry into the working visa program, following an investigation uncovering evidence of collusion between some of the owners at hundreds of 7-Eleven stores.
Former employees have told of being made to work twice as long as expected at half the rate of pay, with some earning as little as $10 an hour.
Internal company documents show that as recently as August this year, 7-Eleven reviewed the payroll at 225 stores and found 69 per cent had ongoing payroll issues.
Mr Bandt, the Greens’ industrial relations spokesman, said: “The reports of 7-Eleven franchises rampantly exploiting workers are shocking.”
“People on working visas aren’t always aware of their rights in Australia and this is leading to exploitation.”
The Four Corners and Fairfax investigation says 7-Eleven has come under particular fire for its treatment of overseas students.
While in Australia, students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week but many workers told the ABC they would be forced to work 40 hours and paid for only 20.
Many others did not receive penalty rates and were threatened with losing their visa if they complained.
“Too much exploitation is happening under our current system of visa and workplace laws,” Mr Bandt said.
“It is wrong if people are being paid for only half of the hours they work or not receiving penalty rates and proper conditions.
“It’s doubly wrong if this is happening because they are fearful of having their visas cancelled.
“I will refer these shocking claims to the current Senate inquiry into Australia’s working visa program and request they hold a special hearing into these reports.”