Overview of key policy recommendations
The ACTU proposes the following recommendations for the review to provide in its final report to Government:
- The TSMIT be recognised as an integral and ongoing element of the 457 visa program in safeguarding the interests of workers.
- Without further delay, the TSMIT should be increased to $57 000 (to catch-up for the two years of indexation increases not provided by the current Government).
- Restore annual indexation of the TSMIT based on Average Weekly Earnings or the Consumer Price Inflation index, whichever is the higher, from 1 July each year.
- The TSMIT should apply as a minimum base rate of pay, with no regional or other concessions available.
- The TSMIT should be extended to labour agreements, DAMAs, IFAs and other such agreements.
- Further work be commissioned to assess the adequacy of the TSMIT in meeting the cost of living needs of 457 visa holders. This should include a survey of 457 visa holders who are paid at or near the TSMIT to assess how they are faring with cost of living issues.
- Consideration be given to extra loadings for the TSMIT based on additional family members and dependents, taking into account the value of benefits received and costs not borne by an equivalent Australian worker on the same income.
- Consideration be given to whether the TSMIT should be increased further and set at the level of Average Weekly Earnings (approx. $77 000 p.a).
- The TSMIT, including annual indexation, should be in primary legislation, namely the Migration Act 1958. This would recognise the key, ongoing role of the TSMIT in providing a wage floor for the 457 visa program and help guard against it being removed or arbitrarily frozen again in the future.
- Improved monitoring and enforcement, including random audits of employers and worker payslips to ensure the TSMIT is being paid. The results of any type of compliance activity should be publically available and form part of mandatory reporting requirements on a no less than quarterly basis.