Reports today that some employers have advertised for foreign workers over Australian workers should be referred to the appropriate authorities, according to Minister for Employment Senator Eric Abetz.
“Skilled foreign workers provide an important supplement to the Australian workforce where there is a shortage of workers, however, Australian workers always have first preference,” Minister Abetz said.
Minister Abetz said there was a misconception that overseas workers were a source of cheap labour.
“Contrary to some media reports, workers on 457 visas are not a low-cost option to avoid the costs of employing Australian residents,” Senator Abetz said.
“Sponsors of these workers encounter additional expenses that they do not incur when employing local workers, demonstrating a clear financial disincentive to employing an overseas worker over an Australian employee.”
While the Australian Government does not direct the recruitment practices of local companies, those practices must satisfy Australian equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws, and job advertisements (including those placed on company websites or with labour hire firms) should not discriminate against Australian job seekers.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator Michaelia Cash said companies sponsoring subclass 457 visa holders are subject to sponsorship obligations which include a commitment to non-discriminatory employment and a demonstration that suitable Australian workers are not available.
“All temporary visa holders – including backpackers and subclass 457 visa holders – must be engaged in accordance with applicable Australian workplace law (including awards, agreements, superannuation, workplace safety and workers’ compensation) and taxation law,” Senator Cash said.
“Visa holders may also be required to satisfy relevant Australian licensing and certification requirements.
“Australian workers cannot be undercut by workers on 457 visas – market rates and conditions that would be paid to an Australian in the same job in the same workplace must also be provided to the foreign worker.
“If the market salary rate for the position that is to be sponsored does not exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), then the person will not be able to access the subclass 457 visa programme.
“TSMIT is currently set at $53,900.”
Any allegations of a breach of the law should be reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Dob-in Service on 1800 009 623.