After a review into rorts and abuse in the 457 visa program, the federal government has announced some changes.

The Federal government indicated that it will reduce regulation and at the same time strengthen the 457 visa.

Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash today released the government’s response to a review into allegation of rorts (a fraudulent or dishonest act or practice) and abuse.  Fifty one recommendations will be adopted by the government.

There will be an increased focus on sponsors of 457 visas and also more resource will be made available to monitor the sponsors.

The Assistant Immigration Minister said

“We’re also looking at the introduction of a new penalty making it unlawful for sponsors to be paid for a migration outcome, greater transparency around the department’s sanction processes, increased information sharing among key government agencies, in particular the Australian Taxation Office.”

The review did not support the allegation that there was wide spread abuse and dishonest practice, however scrutiny is being tightened up to ensure that abuse does not take place.

All the recommendation made in the review have not been adopted, for example the review asked for the abolition of labour market testing, labour market testing requires employers to test the local market to see if suitable candidates are available to fill a job before a job is offered to a foreign worker. This practice is to continue to ensure jobs are first filled by suitably qualified Australian citizens.

The government is also reducing the English standard required when testing, Trade Union have raised health and safety concerns which may endanger people in the workplace if a suitable standard of English is not maintained.

In general the business community has responded favorably to the review however there is a view that the regulations could have been softened further.  These changes are to be put into place by the end of this year, there is however a call from Trade Unions for a broader inquiry into Australian temporary work visas. Trade Unions are concerned that regulations are being relaxed at a time of high unemployment in general and more specifically in the youth sector.

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