Dodgy RTOs ripping off migrant and other workers through fake qualifications

The ETU has recently come across cases where dodgy Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are ripping off migrant and other workers.

Electrical workers who migrate to Australia from overseas are supposed to follow a pathway through Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) to have their skills assessed and any skills gaps identified to get an Australian electrical licence. Workers then complete ‘gap training’ (run by industry-endorsed Australian Context Gap Training ) and supervised work in Australia. This ensures that the workers can work safely and understand the differences in electrical installation work between their country of origin and Australia.

Some dodgy RTOs have been providing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) instead of instructing these workers to follow the necessary TRA program. Usually coming from overseas, the workers are paying upwards of $20-30K for a fake qualification that doesn’t meet the requirements to get an electrical licence, so they are left with nothing.

There have also been reports of Australian workers who had partly completed an apprenticeship being sucked into paying for fake qualifications by these RTOs. Paying for electrician qualifications at a dodgy RTO is NOT a pathway to an electrical licence.

If these workers do get through without following the proper pathway, they can severely compromise the safety and regulation of electrical work standards across the country, putting workers and the general public at risk.

It’s not just RTOs trying to exploit these workers, some aren’t even registered organisations.

We’re seeking more examples of this exploitation so we can demand the government to take action against these organisations and regulate this industry.

If you or anyone you know has experienced this type of exploitation please get in touch with the ETU National Technical Officer Sarah at urgently.


This article was publised on 21 July 2023.