A senate committee report has effectively recommended an overhaul of the sc457 visa programme proposing some 33 changes.

According to a report on the ABC, during the senate hearings senators were repeatedly told labour hire companies used the threat of deportation to deter exploited workers from complaining about their pay or conditions. Several recommendations seek to address this, including ensuring those who approach the Department of Immigration with complaints are dealt with in a ‘victim-centric’ manner and given a safe space to voice their complaints.

The other changes recommended by the senate committee include the following:

  • Indexing the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to an average full-time weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE), as at 1 July 2015. That indexation is recommended to occur each financial year. According to the ABS statistics, the AWOTE is currently about AU$1500 per week or AU$78,000 per year and has increased about 1.6 per cent over the previous year.
  • Removing the current exemptions on labour market testing for ANZSCO skill levels 1 and 2; and applying labour market testing to all positions nominated by approved sponsors under both labour agreements and Designated Area Migration Agreements.
  • Replacing the current training benchmarks with a training levy to be paid per 457 visa holder, employed in the business. The committee recommends that the levy be set at up to $4000 per 457 visa worker.
  • Employers to hire an Australian graduate for each professional 457 worker they sponsor; additionally, employers sponsoring a trades person on a 457 to demonstrate a quarter of their workforce is Australian.
  • A number of the committee’s recommendations centre on reforming the 457 visa by ensuring local workers are given the same or more weight in job applications.

The report also recommends the overhaul of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) by making it more independent and better funded in order to provide “objective, evidence-based advice to government on matters pertaining to skills shortages, training needs, workforce capacity and planning and labour migration (including Designated Area Migration Agreements and the full range of temporary visa programs with associated work rights).”

Click here for the full report.

Content sourced from Migration Alliance.