First ever termination of a labour agreement
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced he has for the first time terminated a Victorian on-hire company's rights to recruit 457 visa holders under a labour agreement as a result of serious breaches of its contract.
Mr Bowen said the agreement was terminated after the company was found to be employing its subclass 457 visa workers on a casual basis, underpaying them, and providing false and misleading information to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
'The government will not tolerate abuse of the skilled migration program and this termination sends a strong message to companies that they should fulfil their obligations under their agreement,' Mr Bowen said.
'Companies found to be doing the wrong thing may be fined or suspended from using the program or, in serious cases such as this, their labour agreement may be terminated or court action taken.'
The visa holders affected by this termination will be given a reasonable period of time in which to seek alternative employment with another approved sponsor.
The Victorian company's breaches were uncovered during a monitoring exercise by DIAC. The department has also increased investigations into the standard 457 visa program.
'The government remains committed to strengthening the integrity of Australia's skilled visa programs by identifying and penalising employers who do the wrong thing,' Mr Bowen said.
'Ongoing compliance action has resulted in an increase in the number of infringement notices served, with 31 notices from the department amounting to $165 000 in fines over the past financial year.'
The department is also pursuing a number of cases for civil prosecution as part of its integrity measures.
Mr Bowen noted that most employers do the right thing, and the 457 visa continues to provide a fast and flexible process for the entry of overseas workers where they are needed to fill skilled vacancies.
'Visa lodgements have increased by 37 per cent compared to the same time last year, fuelled by growth in the mining, construction and health care industries,' Mr Bowen said.
'Visa processing times are at historically low levels with the current median processing time for a subclass 457 visa application at only 19 calendar days.'
Last update: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 at 16:50 AEST