April 2013 Industry Update

FWO to tackle exploitation of workers on 457 visas

The Australian Government recently announced that it would give powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to monitor and enforce compliance with 457 visa conditions.

The 457 visa is is designed to enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers, on a temporary basis, where they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian.

The construction industry was the largest user of the 457 visa, with 13.4 per cent of primary visas granted. 

As a result of the Government’s announcement, Fair Work Inspectors will monitor compliance with 457 visa conditions, namely that:

  • 457 visa holders are paid at the market rates specified in their approved visa and
  • The job being done by the 457 visa holder matches the job title and description approved in their visa.

Currently, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for monitoring compliance with 457 visa conditions.

FWBC’s experience is that this type of worker is more susceptible to exploitation in Australia’s construction industry and is already working to ensure we provide accessible information to this group about their rights and responsibilities under Australian workplace relations laws.

In the January edition of the Industry Update, we told you about a pilot project we had initiated in South Australia aimed at reducing exploitation of overseas workers, particularly those on 457 visas. 

We have also endeavoured to provide information about rights and responsibilities to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people working in Australia’s construction industry through our translated resources page on our website.

Further information

 

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