In line with promises made during last year’s election, the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, has announced an independent review to be performed on the Subclass 457 Program. The results of the review panel are expected to be presented to the Assistant Minister by mid-2014. The main focus of the public inquiry will be to determine the level of abuse of the 457 Program by companies, and to determine whether or not the new Labor Market Testing (LMT) requirement should be kept as a preventative measure against such abuses.
When the legislation to re-introduce the LMT was debated in Parliament last summer, the Liberal Party remained in opposition and, as such, voted against the re-implementation. While it was strongly anticipated that the re-introduction of the LMT requirement would be cancelled once the Liberal Party came into power and appointed a new Minister and Assistant Minister for Immigration, the requirement was still implemented in November 2013.
The response within the business community to the re-implementation of the LMT requirement has been varied. On one hand, many companies have spoken out against the new requirement arguing that the misuse of the 457 Program was not widespread and that the LMTs would place an unnecessary burden on 457 visa sponsors. On the other hand, Labor Unions continue to support the re-introduction arguing that it is a necessary preventative measure against companies hiring cheaper foreign workers when qualified Australians are available.
It is important to note that an exemption from the LMT requirement was announced for highly skilled occupations. This exemption does apply to most positions with which Pro-Link GLOBAL assists its clients; however, employers should continue to monitor this space for continued updates on the changes in Australia.
Would you like more information on the introduction of the Labor Market testing requirement and other recent changes to Australian immigration? Please contact Pro-Link GLOBAL to obtain a comprehensive overview.