In a joint media statement released today (18 March 2013) the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor, and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, announced new inspection powers for the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in relation to 457 business sponsors.
Implication for 457 Business Sponsors
The Federal Government has extended monitoring of 457 Business Sponsors which will be able to be undertaken not just by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) but also by the FWO. The Federal Government has given powers to the FWO to:
- Monitor 457 business sponsors and enforce compliance with 457 visa conditions;
- Investigate whether 457 visa holders are employed in their nominated occupation and that their actual role matches that stated in their job title and description; and
- Examine whether 457 visa holders are receiving market salary rates specified in their approved visa.
The Federal Government has stated in its media release that the FWO has over 300 inspectors investigating complaints in Australian workplaces and inspectors will now be vested with the power to investigate 457 business sponsors.
Powers of the FWO
As well as investigative and monitoring powers, FWO staff will be able to refer any “suspicious activity” to the DIAC investigation team. DIAC will then be responsible for undertaking a more thorough examination of the reported compliance issues.
What Should 457 Business Sponsors Do?
The vested monitoring powers of 457 Business Sponsors in the FWO are part of the Federal Government’s recent focus on ensuring that employers are not abusing the subclass 457 visa program. Employers should ensure that their 457 visa holder employees are working in their nominated occupation, are undertaking the role stipulated in the position description provided to DIAC and ensure that they are paid the market salary rate stated in their visa.
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