07 September 2009

Market rates for temporary skilled overseas workers on Australia visas

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Temporary skilled workers on the 457 Australian visa will now have to be paid market rates and be on the same wages and conditions as Australian workers doing equivalent work.

Australia visa

The Australian Government has released details on the requirement for temporary skilled works on the Australia visa (subclass 457) to be paid market salary rates.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, recently announced details of the requirement for temporary skilled overseas workers on the temporary skilled business (long stay) 457 visa to be paid market salary rates.

This will ensure subclass 457 Australia visa holders are on the same wages and conditions of employment as those provided to an Australian worker undertaking equivalent work in the same workplace.

To determine the market rate, employers are to use comparisons with Australians at their workplace or, if there are no local workers to refer to collective agreements, awards, or other evidence such as remuneration surveys or earnings data.

"The Rudd Government has made it clear that temporary skilled overseas workers should not be employed ahead of local workers because they are a cheaper option," Senator Evans said.

"The Subclass 457 visa scheme is a demand driven program designed to supplement - not replace - the local workforce when there are serious skills shortages."

Under current arrangements, employers are obliged to pay workers on subclass 457 Australia visas the minimum salary level of $45,220 or the award rate. This means overseas workers can be paid less than an Australian employee in the same workplace who may be paid at above award rates - which is the market rate.

"For example, tradespeople working on mine sites or other industries where skills are in high demand are often paid well above award rates," Senator Evans said.

"The payment of market salary rates will ensure that overseas workers are not used as a cheap form of labour or used to undercut Australian wages and conditions."

Market salary rates will apply to all new subclass 457 visa holders from 14 September 2009 except where annual earnings of $180,000 or more are proposed.


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