Western Australia’s Minister responsible for State migration issues, Norm Marlborough, has called on the Federal Government to ensure that it does more than pay lip service to temporary work visa rorts.
Mr Marlborough was pre-empting the outcome of next Monday’s working party of Federal and State officials charged with examining measures to combat abuses of 457 visas.
“Our booming economy needs workers, but any attempt to bring in labour to drive down wages or take the jobs of WA workers is not on,” the Minister said.
“The State Government supports recruiting skilled migrants who have the necessary abilities to fill genuine vacancies. We do not support the use of temporary migration visas to drive down wages.”
Mr Marlborough’s statement was made as more evidence emerged of widespread employer abuse of the 457 temporary visa scheme.
“The Department of Consumer and Employment Protection’s claim that almost 80 per cent of the employers it investigated in 2004 and 2005 were in breach of their 457 visa obligations is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue,” the Minister said.
In those 36 investigations 28 employers were found to have incurred employment law breaches including underpaying workers, short-changing them on annual leave and public holiday entitlements and failing to maintain proper time and wage records.
Other areas of concern included failing to pay superannuation contributions, providing misleading information on living and working conditions, employees being forced to make unreasonable payments to agents used in obtaining sponsorship and threats from employers to withdraw their sponsorship.
“In order to ensure that the rights of 457 visa-holders are adequately protected, the Federal Government should monitor employers’ compliance with their obligations,” Mr Marlborough said.
“Australian and foreign workers should not be left vulnerable to exploitation.”
Minister's office: (08) 9213 6500