Oz temporary foreign worker visa misuse not as bad as feared

The misuse of Australia’s temporary 457 visa system is not as widespread as originally feared, new figures show.

In the past 16 months, the independent Fair Work Ombudsman referred 1,267 employers of 457 visa holders to the Immigration Department for monitoring but the overwhelming majority of sponsors were found to have complied with their obligations.

In fact, data obtained by The Australian newspaper reveals that the audit only uncovered up to 25 serious ­employer breaches.

Australia’s former immigration minister Brendan O’Connor had last year claimed that there were more than 10,000 cases of “illegitimate use’’ of the visa, which allows Australian employers to hire overseas workers where no suitably domestic workers can be found.

“The politically motivated allegations of widespread rorting within the 457 programme are exaggerated claims and made by those who want to see the program ended,” said Michaelia Cash yesterday, the country’s Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. “The Coalition government will not engage in the divisive, ugly politics which seeks to ­demonise skilled migrants in Australia.”

The Immigration Department’s annual report shows that on 30th June this year there were 195,071 subclass 457 visa holders in Australia and there were 35,285 active sponsors of primary 457 visa holders in 2013-14.

Article published 11th December 2014