Australian government to announce new 457 visa measures

Australian government to announce new 457 visa measures

Australian government to announce new 457 visa measures

As the 457 visa controversy rumbles on, the Australian government has revealed its intention to bring in more changes to the foreign worker visa scheme.I

n an attempt to make it easier to penalise breaches of immigration law regarding foreign workers, the Australian government will announce changes to the 457 visa. The new measures will ensure Australian businesses are employing local workers before they attempt to bring in foreign staff.

According to Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor, there are around 10,000 instances of rorting of 457 visas, although his admitted estimate has not been confirmed by hard figures. He has also stated that not all Australian bosses have been attempting to employ local people before hitting the foreign worker trail.

He added that penalties have always been in place, but the difficulty of proving the offence via the paperwork provided has meant that few have been imposed. O’Connor believes that holidaymaker and student visas could be useful in providing labour forces to certain sectors and regions, adding that the 457 temporary skilled visa category must maintain its integrity.

Frontbencher for the Federal Labour Party, Tanya Plibersek, said that employers who go offshore for workers are causing real problems both to locals looking for work and to the foreign workers themselves. She added that migrant labour can be deported or sacked and are often subject to poor working conditions with no redress.

The government, she said, should not support such employers, and opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison agrees that changes are necessary, but believes the government is over the top on the issue. He intends to wait and see what reforms are suggested, but decries the vilification by government officials of skilled migrants who arrive on 457 visas.

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