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Australia Announces Major Amendments to Skilled Visa Program

March 2015, 19
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Major reforms to Australia skilled visa program
In a bid to address skill shortages in the country and to ensure the proper use of immigration schemes, the government of Australia has announced some amendments to its skilled visa program. 

The Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Hon. Peter Dutton MP, said in a statement that the federal government will soon act on the proposals of a latest independent assessment of the 457 visa program to reinforce the integrity and make sure that native workers have the support of employers in Australia. 

The panel was assigned with scrutinizing compliance in the 457 program by sponsors of foreign employees to make sure that the scheme is utilized as planned in order to address the skilled scarcities which can’t be met within the country by the native workforce. 

The assessment panel consulted widely throughout Australia, conference with more than 140 stakeholders as well as receiving 189 written submissions, subsuming from unions, businesses, academics and industry bodies. 

The major recommendation of the assessment include key emphasize on targeting employers who try to misuse the program, considerable transparency around the department's approvals and positive sharing of details between major government agencies. 

The Assistant Minister for Australia’s Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said that the government would initiate a new penalty, making it illegitimate for sponsors to get payment as a response for sponsoring an employee for 457 visas. 

The DIBP works cooperatively with the Australian Taxation Office to assess records in order to make sure that overseas employee on 457 visas are getting their designated income. 

Apparently, the government will proactively act against the name and disgrace offenders exploiting foreign employees and abusing the program. 

Cash also said that the government ensures businesses that utilize the 457 program properly would acquire fewer regulation and cost, without compromising on the essential protection that supports the scheme. 

The government would minimize the rigid burden for businesses with a confirmed track record by simplifying sponsorship requirements, Cash added. 

She also added that a significant recommendation subjected to the replacement of existing training target provisions set up by labor, which are expensive, difficult and liable to misuse. 

Presumably, implementation of the recommendations will roll out throughout 2015.

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