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Victorian dairy processor fined for underpaying foreign workers

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The Taiwanwese workers were paid $15 per hour and the Gippsland-based company ViPlus Dairy now has to pay back $7,400 to make up the shortfall.

Fair Work Ombudsman director Craig Bildstein said the workers were given free accommodation, but that did not excuse an employer from paying minimum wage.

"They should have paid $21.09 for normal hours. Whilst it might have been generous for the employer to provide accommodation and free power, gas and water and so on, nevertheless it was required to meet its workplace obligations to the minimum wage," Mr Bildstein said. 

Complaints from foreign workers on visas, including the 417 working holiday, or 'backpacker', visa were becoming a more common issue for the ombudsman.

"It's a trend that concerns us. Last year, 12 per cent of all requests that came in to us were from visa holders," Mr Bildstein said.

"In 2014-15, we recovered more than $1.6 million for underpaid visa holders, which is up from $1.1 million the previous year." 

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