Australian 457 visa crackdown continues

The Australian PM has once again, lit the blue touch paper with regards 457 visas and is planning to introduce monetary fines for company owners who fail to offer vacancies to Australian workers first.

Unions are pressuring the government to act before the Federal elections in Sept, claiming that under the current “tick-a-box” approach, companies are claiming they face local labour shortages without even advertising the jobs locally.

The changes are expected to be debated by cabinet ministers this week, with the changes including financial penalties for employers who lie or mislead authorities about labour shortages in order to import workers on 457 visas.

The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily with a little more than 100,000 workers currently in Australia under the visa class.

The number of 457 visa classes has jumped 20 per cent in the last year.

Currently, bosses must claim there is a labour shortage to secure a foreign worker but do not have to prove it.

“Why do they like 457 visas if they have local labour available? Because they can deport these workers in a month,” a senior government source claimed.

Senior government sources also said the Department of Immigration was reviewing “serious” allegations over exploitation of some low-skilled workers, suggesting there was a “fine line” between the abuse of 457s and labour trafficking.

The 457 debate has sparked bitter divisions within government ranks, with accusations the Prime Minister was “dog-whistling” to racists.

Last month, former Labor leader Simon Crean said the debate over 457 visas was a good policy with bad rhetoric.

“She’s gone the class warfare,” Mr Crean said.

“The 457 visa debate was a good example of the message being taken out of context – because it looked like ‘we’ll put Australians before foreigners’. Unequivocally, immigration has been good for this country.”

Mr O’Connor sparked controversy earlier this year when he suggested the number of 457 visa rorts to be in excess of 10,000. “I can assure you we will be looking to legislate,” he said at the time.

Category: Migration News  Tags:
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