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NEWS BLOG

6 October 2015

Greetings All,

As an organisation that has been involved in sponsoring employees on 457 visas, we thought you may be interested in hearing that the Government is starting to take a hard line on what they see as exploitation of workers (even thought we are aware that some employees actively beg the employer to help them and freely offer to pay all fees involved and sometimes offer a financial inducement to the employer).

PAYMENT FOR VISAS TO BECOME UNLAWFUL

New legislation announced on 16 September 2015 will make it a criminal offence for employers to be paid for sponsoring 457 and other visa applicants. Visa holders will also become liable to having their visas cancelled where they engage in payment for their visa sponsorship.

Senator Michaelia Cash

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women

NEW LEGISLATION OUTLAWS PAYMENTS FOR VISAS

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Turnbull Government today introduced legislation to the Parliament to make it a criminal offence for a sponsor to be paid by a visa applicant in return for securing a migration outcome.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said on coming to Government, the Coalition commissioned a comprehensive, independent review of the integrity of the subclass 457 programme. The government provided its response to this review, Robust New Foundations, in March this year.

‘The review recommended the introduction of a new penalty making it unlawful for sponsors to receive payment in return for sponsoring a 457 visa and we unreservedly supported this important integrity measure,’ Minister Cash said.

‘The Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015 implements this recommendation and expands the application beyond the 457 visa programme to other temporary and permanent work visas.’

‘Unlawful arrangements whereby payment, inducements or other incentives are promised or exchanged to try and achieve a migration outcome will not be tolerated by this Government.’

The practice of giving or receiving a benefit in return for visa sponsorship can have serious detrimental effects including possible exploitation, undermining of Australian pay and conditions and can damage the integrity of Australia’s migration programmes.

Minister Cash said the legislation introduced today sends a very clear message to those who are tempted to engage in this type of activity.

‘Those who think they can get away with this kind of behaviour take note – we will target you and we will bring you to justice,’ Minister Cash said.

There will be a framework for criminal, civil and administrative sanctions against sponsors who actively ‘sell’ sponsorships, or seek to obtain an undue advantage in return for sponsoring a person.

The Bill also introduces a new discretionary power to allow for cancellation of a visa where the visa holder has engaged in ‘payment for visas’ activity.

Minister Cash said the new penalties will further strengthen the integrity of Australia’s migration programme, building on a number of initiatives announced over the past two years.​​​

URL: http://www.minister.border.gov.au/michaeliacash/2015/Pages/legislation-outlaws-payment.aspx

Last update: Wednesday, 16 September 2015