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Inquiry into skilled worker (457 visa) bill: submissions close this Monday (27 October)



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Thu, 23rd October 2008 INQUIRY INTO SKILLED WORKER (457 VISA) BILL: SUBMISSIONS CLOSE THIS MONDAY (27 OCTOBER)

The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

The Senate has set up an inquiry into the Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker Protection) Bill 2008, which aims to strengthen the obligations for sponsors of skilled migrants on 457 visas.

The bill has been drafted to ensure greater compliance of employers with Australian salary and work conditions for their sponsored skilled workers.

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Dr Sharman Stone, said prospective sponsors should be aware of the significant changes new regulations may bring.

Unfortunately, the regulations are still not available, but a discussion paper issued by the Department of Immigration describes possible new areas of obligations and costs to be met by employers.

Among other measures, the bill will replace sponsorship “undertakings” with new sponsorship obligations that will automatically apply to an approved sponsor.

“The future regulations will streamline sponsorship obligations for employers, including greater information sharing between governments, expand powers to investigate possible non-compliance by employers and impose new penalties on non-compliant employers,” Dr Stone said.

The bill will also introduce civil penalties for failing to meet sponsorship obligations, establish a new monitoring regime, ensure personal information can be disclosed and allow the tax commissioner to disclose information to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, among other things.

“It is important that current and prospective sponsors and 457 visa-holders look carefully at what is being proposed and make a submission to the inquiry,” Dr Stone said.

The inquiry, which is being conducted by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, must report by 7 November. Submissions close this Monday (27 October).

Submissions can be emailed to legcon.sen@aph.gov.au or posted to:

Committee Secretary,

Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs,

Department of the Senate,

PO Box 6100

Parliament House,

CANBERRA ACT 2600

More information about the bill can be obtained by contacting the Committee Secretary on (02) 6277 3560 or at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee...migration/index.htm