Foreign worker laws get makeover on Rudd’s return

foreignKEVIN Rudd’s return to the office of Prime Minister has already spelled change for the skilled foreign worker visa program, making it more difficult for employers to rort the system.
Just two days after returning to the top job, Mr Rudd applied amendments to the Migration Act to strictly regulate Australian industry and employers.
Employers now have to conduct labour market testing to prove difficulty finding local workers before hiring foreign workers on 457 visas, by advertising in a newspaper for up to four months.
Employers also have to spend some of their total payroll on training staff, and 457 visa holders have 90 days to find another job following termination instead of the current 28 days. Furthermore, the Offshore Resources Bill was passed in the Senate ensuring workers in the offshore resources industry are accounted for by extending to offshore pipelines and rigs.
Immigration and Citizenship minister Brendan O’Connor said it was impossible to regulate the industry as the government could not tell if workers were being underpaid or exploited.
“This legislation contains a sensible solution to the loophole in the Migration Act which meant overseas workers on vessels engaged in laying pipeline on the seabed did not require a work visa,” he said.
“The resources are governed under Australian law. The jobs should be too,” Mr O’Connor said. The Offshore Resources Bill will come into effect in 2014.