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Few workers under 457 visa program being underpaid: report

Report comes after Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor admitted exaggerating claims the program was being rorted.
Report comes after Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor admitted exaggerating claims the program was being rorted. Tom Huntley

JUST 2% of more than 3000 foreign workers employed under the 457 visa program have reported being underpaid by their employers, a Migration Council report has found.

The report comes after Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor last week admitted exaggerating claims the program was being rorted.

It found the vast majority of 457 visa workers had a high level of job description, and four out of five multi-national companies were using 457 workers to train locals.

Council chief executive Carla Wilshire said the survey of 3800 visa holders and 1600 businesses showed the transfer of such skills played an important role in building human capital.

"Temporary migration does not just fill skills shortages, it addresses skills deficits and plays a central part in workplace development at the enterprise level," she said.

While the report did identify some compliance issues, it largely confirmed the 457 visa program was not being widely rorted by industry.

"It is concerning that 2% of the program reported incomes less than the threshold income set by regulation," Ms Wilshire said.

It also found more than 70% of 457 visa holders wanted to become permanent residents in the future, recommending changes to facilitate more permanent migration for skilled workers.

Ms Wilshire said this was due to a sustained move to a "two-step" migration program, where jobs demand drove immigration.

Topics:  457 visas foreign workers underpaid


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