A range of changes to the 457 visa program will be implemented by the Abbot government after a review recommended harsher penalties for businesses caught rorting the system.
One of the most significant changes will be a ban on employers seeking payment in exchange for sponsoring a worker’s visa.
Assistant Immigration Minister, Michaelia Cash, told SBS that the changes were designed to make the system fairer.
“We will proactively prosecute and name and shame offenders exploiting overseas workers and misusing the program,” Senator Cash said.
“Contrary to claims Labor made in government about widespread rorting, the review did not find that was the case.
“The majority of employers do the right thing,”
The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) releases a statement this morning supporting the changes.
“Skilled migrants comprise a very small, yet very important part of the resource industry,” the statement said.
“During the recent period of increased resources investment and construction, 457 visa holders brought new global skills to Australia and assisted our industry in meeting unprecedented skills demands.”
“Despite shrill and overstated claims by some unions and the former ALP government, the 457 Visa Review Panel found no evidence to suggest unlawful or exploitative misuse of Australia’s skilled migration programmes beyond a tiny minority.”
“AMMA’s long-held position is that identifying and prosecuting this small minority is a far more responsible, mature and effective approach than shifting the goal posts for everyone.”