23 Mar 2017

A Perth company has recently advertised on Gumtree seeking 457 Visa applicants only. This has caused controversy in the already volatile employment industry of Western Australia.

What is a 457 Visa?

The 457 visa allows businesses to hire workers from overseas with specialised skills. The 457 visa once granted, allows that individual to work in Australia for a period of up to four years with a sponsored business. Under this visa, they can also bring their partner and children to live with them in Australia. The visas were designed to be used to fill positions that cannot be filled by local workers.

In or around June 2016, there were approximately 95,000 temporary skilled migrants in Australia under the 457 visa program.

In Australia currently, there are approximately 12 million workers, of these 457 visa holders account for less than 1 per cent. The majority of 457 visa workers come from India with 25% and the UK with 17%. Australian law legislates that 457 visa workers are to be paid the same wage as Australian workers and the minimum salary for a 457 visa worker is approximately $53,000 per annum, if a business wishes to retain their services. The average salary of a 457 worker is $94,200, including superannuation.

Controversy

With unemployment in Western Australia being at 6.5%, the highest it’s been since 2002, there are concerns that Australian workers are being replaced with 457 visa holders who may be more willing to work longer hours and for lesser pay.

There are also concerns that employers once agreeing to sponsor a 457 visa worker may use their sponsorship as a means of exploiting the 457 visa worker who is dependent on the employer to stay in the country.

Discrimination

This advertisement may be considered discriminatory as it prevents Australian workers from applying for the job on the basis that they are Australian. Under the Racial Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his or her race, colour, descent, national origin or ethnic origin.

Government Action

In 2016, the amount of time 457 visa workers were allowed to spend before securing further employment was reduced from 90 to 60 days by Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton. While Mr Dutton said this was to give Australians a better chance of competing for jobs, this change has been criticised with many arguing that the result will do the opposite as with less time to find work, 457 visa workers will be more inclined to work for less and in exploitive conditions.

If you are in a 457 visa worker and want to find out more about migrating to Australia you should seek specific advice from a specialist Migration Lawyer.

This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.

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