Better Compliance, Not More Laws, Needed To Protect Integrity Of Working Visa Program

Reports that some temporary visa workers are not being treated in accordance with Australian laws demonstrate the case for improved enforcement rather than new laws, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the ACCI, said: “Enforcing compliance is critical to maintaining public confidence in the migration system. The recent independent inquiry into 457 visas found there was a need for better resourcing of compliance bodies, both in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). We also need stronger education programs for employers, visa holders and the general public so that complaints are directed to the appropriate body.

“The laws for temporary visa-holders are straightforward: the visa-holder must be paid in accordance with Australian workplace laws and their visa requirements. Regulatory bodies should not be distracted from the task by considering further changes.

“We need to focus our efforts on compliance, both to protect workers and to protect the integrity of the visa program, which is vital to Australia’s economy. The working holidaymaker program, for example, creates local jobs through backpacker tourism and gives young people in Australia and abroad a chance to work overseas and experience other cultures.

Jenny Lambert, ACCI Director of Employment, Education and Training, said: “The Senate Education and Employment References Committee is conducting an inquiry into temporary work visas. The ACCI submission, which will soon be released by the Senate, recommends the Senate encourage people with concerns about suspected non-compliance to complain to the DIBP and FWO so the circumstances can be dealt with appropriately.

“Frequent changes to the regulatory framework make it almost impossible to educate participants in their legal requirements. Instead of investigating yet further changes, DIBP and other stakeholders would be better off committing time, effort and resources to investigating complaints.

“In regard to the temporary skilled migration program (457 visas), there are already changes in train that will substantially improve the integrity of the scheme. These should be allowed to take effect before further inquiries and changes are launched.

“Migration, including temporary migration, is good for Australia and creates jobs for Australians. More effort should be invested in enforcing compliance and upholding confidence in the system. These are the key messages of the ACCI submission.”

Courtesy of Kate Carnell AO | ACCI CEO, ACCI

Administrator’s note

Hooray, somebody else agrees, we need more compliance action on 457 program breaches NOT more laws. The authorities have got more than sufficient authority they just need boots on the ground. More laws simply mean more hoops for the legitimate employers to have to jump through, and the habitual offenders will just ignore the additional regulation.

Loss of the power  to sponsor 457 visa holders is a  powerful tool  and the more compliance we have, the healthier the local labour market will be resulting in the employment of local staff.