Response to Issues Paper 3: Integrity / Exploitation on 457 Visa

Response to Issues Paper 3: Integrity / Exploitation on 457 Visa

The ACTU welcomes this opportunity to make a submission to the third and final issues paper of the 457 Integrity Review.

The ACTU has two broad areas of concern with the Temporary Business Long Stay – Standard Business Sponsorship (Subclass 457) Visa (the 457 visa program). Our first concern is that the existing program does not adequately safeguard against the use of 457 visas by employers to avoid investing in training their workforces and/or to drive down wages and conditions of employment. The program must be designed so as to ensure that employers can only use 457 visas where they cannot fill a position with locally available labour and where they have demonstrated a strong commitment to training Australian workers.

Our second area of concern is that the 457 visa program has failed to protect temporary overseas workers from abuse and exploitation. Recognition and protection of the rights of migrant workers must be central to Australia’s temporary overseas labour program.

The ACTU understands that this Integrity Review is part of the Federal Government’s broad reform agenda for the 457 visa program. This agenda includes the External Reference Group’s report (April 2008), the Skilled Migration Consultative Panel and the proposed amendments to sponsorship obligations for the 400 series visas. Our response to this issues paper is drafted on this basis.