About 40 lines engineers at the centre of an industrial dispute between EPMU members and the network arm of Telecom now face immigration problems.
The workers are being laid-off by Transfield and Downer EDI, which are being replaced by new contractor Visionstream which wants them to become independent contractors.
In August the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union wrote to Visionstream saying that fixed-term contracts mean migrant workers would lose their immigration permits at the end of that term.
The EPMU says Visionstream responded saying the union was right and that it would offer work beyond the contracts so that migrants could get residency.
The union also wrote to Immigration Minister Jonathon Coleman requesting a meeting to discuss the concerns of its members.
Mr Coleman says the Immigration Department has no arrangement in place with Visionstream to exempt the migrants and declined to meet with the union.