Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Questions without Notice
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship assesses allegations and takes appropriate investigative action where breaches are identified. The department also conducts campaigns across various sectors focusing upon particular sponsorship obligations in order to assess whether sponsors are complying with their obligations. As a matter of course, the government takes any allegation seriously and looks into issues or concerns raised by workers, unions or the community. The government is committed to addressing the skill needs of various employment sectors while maintaining job opportunities for local workers and securing strong investment in domestic training. Importantly, employers are required to employ such workers at market rates and no less than they pay Australian workers, meaning they cannot be used to undercut local wages or labour costs.
We remain committed to strengthening the integrity of Australia's skilled visa programs by identifying and penalising employers who do the wrong thing. For example, a labour agreement for on-hire 457 workers was recently terminated because the company was found to be employing its subclass 457 visa workers on a casual basis, underpaying them, and providing false and misleading information to the immigration department. An ongoing compliance action has resulted in an increase in the number of infringement notices served.
Senior officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship met with representatives of the Adani Group on a number of occasions to discuss appropriate visa options and the officials reiterated the importance of complying with visa conditions and employer obligations. I understand that this meeting prompted Adani to commission an Ernst and Young audit to review its business practices, and this is entirely appropriate. The department is meeting with Adani to discuss the audit.