SYDNEY, Australia-- A major inspection of 45 Australian sushi businesses including those in New South Wales and Queensland states has found extensive breaches of workplace regulations, such as severe underpayment of young migrant workers, according to latest audits.

The audits found underpayments across 37 of the businesses, with 29 breaking wage-related laws, the Fair Work Ombudsman government workplace relations regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.

Its inspectors recovered more than 745,000 Australian dollars (530,000 U.S. dollars) for nearly 400 employees related to the underpayments.

"Our activity identified that sushi eateries often employ vulnerable workers including young workers, migrant visa holders and those from non-English-speaking backgrounds. The Fair Work Ombudsman has a strong focus on protecting the rights and entitlements of these vulnerable workers as they may not be fully aware of their workplace rights or are reluctant to complain," the regulator's head Sandra Parker said.

The audit covered 33 sushi businesses in New South Wales and five in Queensland, as well as seven operations in Australian federal capital Canberra. The victims included young migrants and foreigners in Australia on the country's popular working holiday visas, said the regulator. At least three matters involving the alleged underpayment of workers remain before the court, it added.

Australia's working holiday visas are popular among foreign students and visitors, with many using the channel to fill vacancies in the agricultural, services and other sectors.


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