IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Safeguarding the global contingent workforce? Guestworkers in Australia


  • Stefanie Toh
  • Michael Quinlan


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers' compensation legal entitlements and policy issues raised by the use of foreign temporary workers under the s457 visa scheme in Australia. Design/methodology/approach - Interviews were conducted with 15 representatives of unions and employers along with written responses from government agencies and examination of government statistics, court and other documents. Findings - The study suggests that foreign temporary workers can face significant difficulty in accessing their OHS rights and entitlements. This represents a challenge for government as well as unions and human resource professionals trying to manage workforce diversity. Research limitations/implications - Further detailed investigation is required into the extent of problems identified in this paper in Australia and other countries. Practical implications - The study indicates that governments making use of guestworkers need to investigate whether these workers have effective access to the protection of OHS and workers' compensation laws and, if not, as indicated by this study, to make suitable policy interventions. Originality/value - The human resource implications of managing guestworkers have been under-researched to date despite the global growth in numbers. The paper starts to fill this gap, identifying a number of important policy issues in relation to OHS.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefanie Toh & Michael Quinlan, 2009. "Safeguarding the global contingent workforce? Guestworkers in Australia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(5), pages 453-471, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:5:p:453-471

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:5:p:453-471. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.