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Brisbane-Lawyer
Brisbane-Lawyer, Solicitor - Admitted 2005
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 14361
Experience:  I did my law degree at the University of Queensland
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Relocation Agreement

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Hello. I relocated (in April this year) from the UK to Perth, WA with my employer on a 457 work visa. No mention of a relocation agreement was made at the time my transfer was discussed and no mention of it was included in my contract of employment. Having 3.5 years of service with the UK Company at the time of my transfer, I assumed this did not apply to me. However, 5 months after starting work with the Australian company (where I am technically classed as a new employee even though I transferred from the UK) I have been asked to sign a Relocation Agreement. The agreement states that if I resign my position within 12 months of my start date, then I must repay 100% of my relocation expenses, which amounts to around $12,500. I do not wish to sign this on a point of principle as I feel it is an insult to my previous years of loyal service and I am disgusted by the lack of professionalism the company has demonstrated in its handling of this affair; my question is twofold. Firstly does the company have any right to make me sign it? And secondly, if I do sign it, should I add some factual statements to the effect that the agreement was never mentioned from the outset and 6 months have elapsed between the effective date and the signing date. I have already made my feelings about this affair known to my employer but they are insistent that I must sign the document. I feel like I am being backed into a corner, please help.

Firstly does the company have any right to make me sign it?

They can't force you to sign anything. In fact, if they threaten to sack you if you don't sign, that would amount to workplace harassment and you can report it.

secondly, if I do sign it, should I add some factual statements to the effect that the agreement was never mentioned from the outset and 6 months have elapsed between the effective date and the signing date.

It would not enhance your legal position to do this. Once you sign it, knowing what it is, it becomes legally binding - despite the fact they never mentioned the agreement initially.

Should you have any other questions, please let me know.

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