An Indian restaurant owner who enslaved a migrant worker has avoided jail for his offending.
Farok Shaik agreed to pay the woman, who was on a bridging visa and intended to apply for permanent residency, to work at his restaurants at Yarrawonga, Beechworth and Bendigo.
He also said he would provide the woman, and her husband, with food and accommodation on top of her $42,000 salary.
Shaik said he would sponsor the victim, but not her husband, under the migration scheme.
She requested payment after her first week of work which was denied then made repeated requests for wages.
The woman was told to think of her visa, not wages, and Shaik said he had friends in the police force.
The victim had started working for Shaik in May 2012 and she contacted police in October that year about the underpayment.
They suggested she contact Fair Work, but she didn't, and the couple struggled financially.
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She had to get work at a motel and continued to work at Shaik's restaurants without pay.
He threatened to harm her the following year if she continued to ask about money, and used a Punjabi term that could be seen as a threat to kill her or hit her.
She felt obliged to continue working for Shaik as she needed his sponsorship.
She finally quit her job in October 2013.
In a further blow, her visa application was refused as the restaurant owner failed to provide pay slips.
He was prosecuted in 2014 for failure to pay the pair their proper wages and Anti-Slavery Australia reported his actions to police.
Shaik's Wangaratta restaurant was searched in August 2016 and false payslips recovered.
The Wangaratta resident had run six restaurants but left the industry following his legal issues.
He still owes the victim about $25,000.
Shaik recently appeared in the County Court, where he was placed on a recognisance order in the sum of $5000, and ordered to be of good behaviour for three years.