Thursday, February 5, 2015

457 Visa Rort Revealed

It is troubling to hear reported today more allegations of fraud and rorting within Australia’s migrant worker program, with the Immigration Department conducting a series of raids on a multinational firm working on major Australian mining and infrastructure projects.

The raids targeted the offices of Murphy Pipe & Civil (MPC), with documents and other material seized. The firm has allegedly assisted dozens of Irish workers to fraudulently obtain 457 temporary skilled and other visas.

These allegations make even more worrying the Liberal Government’s decision to relax requirements around 457 ‘temporary’ work visas to make it much easier for Australian businesses to import foreign workers, as well as seeking to introduce a “short-term mobility visa”, which would allow employers to hire specialised workers for up to 12 months.

In an economy where unemployment is a big problem, a situation that will get worse before it gets better as mining investment unwinds and the local car industry closes, it makes no sense to be relaxing foreign workers visas.

The Prime Minister talks about “growth and jobs”, but the real intention of this government is to use the migration program to drive down wages and conditions, using the global labour market to smash trade unions.
ACTU President Ged Kearney and Secretary Dave Oliver are absolutely right to focus on the rorting of 457 visas – they constitute an existential threat to the trade union movement.

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