Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor announced this week, he was going to take a tough stance over the “10,000 breeches”, which he claims have already taken place on the 457 visa program.
However, many businesses including the Chamber of Commerce have raised eyebrows over this statement, saying it was an “extreme claim” and there was “no concrete proof” over these 457 rorts.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said; “It sounds very inflammatory and exaggerated. It sounds more like a nice round figure plucked from the air.”
Minister O’Connor is still insistent however on his rort claims, saying he has proof that 10% of 107,000 on the scheme were abusing it.
“We’ve had evidence where people have been employed where there are not shortages in the area, and we’ve got evidence to show that the nature of the job that was on the application, is nothing like the job that actually exists when the application is processed and the applicant fills that job.”
The current 457 visa scheme allows you to work in Australia up to 4 years and is granted to those who are sponsored by an Australian employer to fill a nominated skilled position.
Despite Labor’s latest stance to gain more votes, it could achieve the opposite affect. With lack of foreign jobs local industries could be eroded as a result and the foreign workers who are on the 457 scheme are filling skill shortages that are already afflicting the Australian economy.
WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson is one of many who are questioning Minister O’Connor claims and lack of evidence. He said the Immigration Department had told the Government’s skilled migration advisory council, of which he is a member, that just 1 to 3 per cent of visa holders featured in rorts.
“We must not tarnish a scheme that is working very well across the country when to date there has been little evidence of rorts.” he said.
Many articles have highlighted that Mr.O’Connor is really trying to distract attention from other political issues. And that the immigration minister is instead choosing to focus on foreign worker’s who are helping in Australian economic growth.