19 March 2012

Government urged to form watchdog to monitor Australian 457 visa abuse

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Workers' groups are lobbying the federal government to form an official body committed to fighting employers who use loopholes in the law to exploit temporary workers on an Australian 457 visa.

Australia visa

The 457 visa is a popular option for many wanting to work in Australia but there are concerns it is being abused by employers.

The Transport Workers Union along with the Migration Alliance argue that the rules and laws governing the Australian working visa leaves temporary workers who are mistreated by employers with few options to combat the abuse.

The two groups, in a submission to the Australian government, are requesting a 'Fair Work Immigration Inspectorate' as well as reforms to the Migration Act, standardised working conditions and a minimum wage.

"It is a common held view that migrant workers seeking to be employed in Australia on a 457 visa or sponsored under an employer nomination scheme are unable to avail themselves of the advantages and protections associated with collective bargaining," said the submission.

"Migrant works are often employed piecemeal and in effect receive advice concerning the offer of employment with the immigration assistance."

The Migration Act currently allows for visas to be cancelled, which, according to the groups means that employers can effectively threaten their employees with deportation by cancelling work.

The submission will be reviewed and summarised in May.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa applications with the Australian High Commission.

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