Australia on Monday issued a stern warning to anyone who abuses the 457 visa programme,saying they will be punished just as harshly as people smugglers.
“If you abuse it then you can expect for me to be as tough on that as the people smugglers will find that we will be on our borders,” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was quoted as saying by the AAP news agency.
“If the 457 programme is abused,it will be undermined,and its critical values to Australia will be diminished. I’m asking you- and I’m asking industry and employers-to help the government protect this vital asset for the Australian economy by making sure it is used properly,in the right circumstances and is not abused,” he said.
Earlier this year Labor government launched a crackdown on the 457 skilled visa programme,saying it was being abused by employers who had not adequately sought to employ locals first.
In June,the government passed laws that forced employers to do local labour market testing to prove they could not find an Australian citizen to do the job before sponsoring an overseas worker on a 457 visa.
The new government has faced pressure from business to take urgent action on the visa class.
Morrison criticised the former Labor government on skilled migration programme and said,”You will not hear from this government that migrants take Australians’ jobs.”
On student visas programme,he said it was being used as a backdoor to permanent migration. “We’re interested in selling education,not visas,” he added.