The Australian government this month responded to last year’s inquiry into the 457 visa program.

The inquiry, commissioned on 25 February 20145, resulted in an extensive report – published in September 2014. The inquiry focused on the integrity of the program.

The inquiry worked to five key principles (see page 6 of the report [PDF]):

  1. Respect by all parties for the rights and the obligations of 457 visa holders;
  2. Transparency, responsiveness and factual evidence as bases for determination of the 457 occupation list;
  3. Encouragement of productivity and discouragement of misuse through the streamlining and refining of departmental processes;
  4. Simplicity in, and national benefit from, the employer training requirement; and
  5. Strength of monitoring and sanctions.

The government announced that it will act on the recommendations made in the report.

Some of the key recommendations in the report included:

  • removal of employer-initiated labour-market testing, on the grounds that it is open to misuse
  • a requirement that the cost of training cannot be passed to the visa holder
  • changing the period of time for notifiable events, to be extended to 28 days post-event
  • requiring all visa holders to receive a summary of their rights as a visa holder, and a copy of Fair Work Australia’s Fair Work Information Statement
  • obliging the provision of the visa holder’s Tax File Number, to more easily enable information sharing across government departments
  • … and much more besides.

You can read more about the Australian government’s response on their website, where you will also find links to the report from the inquiry.