500 Visa Worker "Abuse Cases" Probed

500 visa worker 'abuse cases' probed

The Sydney Morning Herald
June 1, 2007 – 2:24PM

Five hundred cases of the alleged exploitation of temporary visa workers have been investigated by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIaC) in the past financial year, a senate committee has heard.

The controversial 457 visa scheme allows Australian businesses to import workers temporarily if they cannot fill skilled vacancies locally.

Unions have raised concerns that overseas workers have been taken advantage of under the scheme by unscrupulous employers.

“Of 12,000 current sponsors of the 457 (temporary visa) program … this year 500 have been brought to the attention and scrutinised more thoroughly,” department official Yole Daniels said.

Ms Daniels said 268 of the cases had been finalised and 88 of those were found to be unsubstantiated allegations.

“We (DIaC) have sanctioned 68 sponsors, we have formally warned another 50 or so and we have about 60 that have been referred to other agencies and we are waiting to hear back from those other agencies,” Ms Daniels said.

2007 AAP