(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

Wage theft is a design feature of Australia's temporary visa system, a report from the Migrant Workers Centre shows, in which uncertainty about residency is a key driver in exploitation.

The survey-based report shows that 65% of workers on temporary migration visas have suffered wage theft, and 25% some other form of workplace exploitation.

It also shows a high level of incomprehension about Australian workplace laws among temporary visa holders: 50% had never heard of penalty rates and more than a third had never heard of most of the basic ideas behind industrial relations legislation like workers' compensation.