Fairfax Media investigation focussing on franchisees
underpaying workers has revealed yet another scam involving the
exploitation of 457 visa holders.
An undercover phone call by a Fairfax employee to a Domino's
Pizza franchise demonstrated that the fast food chain was offering
visa sponsorship in exchange for payments of up to $150,000. So
exactly what laws have been broken?
On 14 December 2015, the Migration Act was amended to prohibit
companies from offering to sponsor a migrant worker on a 457 visa
in exchange for payment from the migrant worker. The Act also
prohibits migrant workers offering payment to companies, in
exchange for visa sponsorship.
It's not only the employer and the migrant worker that can
land themselves in hot water - executive officers of a company can
be criminally liable for contraventions, if they knew of, or were
reckless or negligent as to such conduct occurring. Penalties for
executive officers include up to two years imprisonment, fines of
up to $64,800 or both.
For others involved in the payment exchange, including the
migrant worker, penalties range up to a maximum fine of
The Act also makes it clear that even if the sponsorship
doesn't happen, the payment arrangement is still a
contravention, and penalties can still be imposed.
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Recent amendments to the Migration Act and regulations, along with the imminent commencement of the new federal safety net under the Fair Work Act, highlight a number of issues for consideration by employers in documenting terms and conditions of employment for foreign nationals engaged to work in Australia under Subclass 457- Business (Long Stay) visas.
If you employ 457 visa holders in your business, you should ensure that you are meeting your sponsorship requirements.
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