The number of overseas workers coming to Australia increased to more than 20 percent over the previous year.
The latest data released by the Immigration Department show that this is the biggest yearly increase in the past 15 years. Despite the Australian government’s effort to put foreigners at the back of the job queue, the number of foreigners on 457 visas is still growing.
Brendan O’Connor, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship highlighted that further reform is needed to resolve some issues concerning local employers preferring to use 457 visas although they could find appropriate local labor.
“Increasingly we are seeing the misuse of the system by employers who are not making an effort to find local labor first, or who exploit overseas workers under this scheme, which is why the government will take further action to stop employers misusing the program.”, Mr. O’Connor said.
Mr. O’Connor added that the government is committed to ensuring local workers were given local opportunities wherever possible.
New legislation has been passed to ensure employers source local labor before hiring overseas workers on 457 visas.
The legislation, in summary, is as follows:
- Enshrines the obligations of sponsor employers in legislation, and significantly strengthens the ability of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to prosecute employers who do the wrong thing
- Empowers the inspectors of the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate breaches of sponsorship obligations to the Department for further action, significantly increasing the deterrent to those who seek to abuse the system
- Extends the period that a 457 worker can remain in Australia after ceasing employment with a sponsor from 28 days to 90 days and
- Introduces enforceable undertakings for employers who have breached their obligations, further strengthening the compliance capacity of the Department.
Mr. O’Connor said that the aim of the legislation is to balance the interests of Australian workers and to protect overseas workers.
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