The Migration Council has welcomed the changes to migrants’ rights and Fair Work Ombudsman powers under proposed 457 visa legislation however cautioned against labour market testing.
Ms Carla Wilshire, CEO of the Migration Council Australia, said there was no excuse for exploitation and a strong compliance regime was critical to maintaining the integrity of the program.
“I welcome the additional enforcement and compliance measures.”
Ms Wilshire highlighted the extension to the period where a migrant can go without an employer to 90 days as a positive and much needed reform.
“This is a very welcome change. This was recommended in the Deegan review back in 2008 and there is broad support within business and the community sector for this change.”
However Ms Wilshire said the changes were not supported with adequate resources.
“Our recent report, More than Temporary: Australia’s 457 visa program, called for additional fees to fund enforcement activities and the provision of needs-based support services. This is the way to stop exploitation.”
The Council cautioned against the introduction of labour market testing.
“Labour market testing is bureaucratic, an administrative burden for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and creates red tape rather then results.
“A more effective framework for protecting migrants should be based on a price signal through higher program fees.”
The MCA has recommended additional compliance and the provision of support services, such as orientation to workplace rights.
“The 457 visa program is vital to Australia’s immigration framework. Migrants accounted for 94 per cent of the total rise in labour market participation in the decade to 2010. Immigration is our nation’s greatest success and pivotal to future prospective.”
MEDIA CONTACT: MCA CEO, CARLA WILSHIRE 0409 363 888