Fair Work Ombudsman to crack down on 457 visa conditions
THE Federal Government has continued to use 457 visas to win favour among voters, announcing on Monday it would increase scrutiny of employers engaging in "suspicious activity".
Under the changes the Fair Work Ombudsman will be given increased powers to crack down on employers not complying with 457 visa conditions.
Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor said the FWO would be charged with ensuring the jobs being done by 457 visa holders matched the job title and description approved in their visa, and that these workers were receiving market salary rates.
FWO staff will also be able to immediately refer any suspicious activity to the DIAC investigation team.
"Today's announcement means workers on 457 visas are better protected, while ensuring the jobs of Australian workers are not undercut by abuse of the temporary skilled worker visa," Mr O'Connor said in a statement.
"Employers who do the right thing have nothing to fear from this change and there will be no additional compliance burden or red tape for them."
In 2011-12 the FWO dealt with 157 complaints in relation to working conditions for 457 visa holders.
Mr O'Connor said the 457 visa program was vital for some regions and sectors where there were genuine skills shortages, but repeated the government's claim rogue employers were misusing the program by bringing in temporary labour when local workers were available.