WORKERS on 457 visas play a vital role in Leichhardt and they should not be ‘demonised’ by a government which is attempting to discredit the program, says Federal MP Warren Entsch.
The Member for Leichhardt spoke this week on proposed changes to the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013, which will “add to the burden of regulation and compliance on sponsors who use the 457 visa program”.
“Unlike Labor, we recognise the critical importance of skilled temporary migration to the Australian economy,” Mr Entsch said.
“Whether it is the chef at the local restaurant, a sugarcane worker, bed-and-breakfast operator or an engineer at one of our mines, these new migrants are employed, paying taxes and making a positive contribution to our society.”
Despite claims that ‘10,000’ workers were ‘rorting’ the system, Labor has failed to produce any credible information to suggest that widespread abuse exists.
“This highlights the absolute hypocrisy of the Gillard government, which clearly would prefer to see illegal boat arrivals put into the community on welfare rather than skilled migrants paying their own way and helping our economy,” Mr Entsch said.
While he recognised that the system “was not perfect by any means”, he added that the proposed changes fail to address any of the current flaws.
He highlighted two local case studies the first being Marinades Indian restaurant in Cairns, owned by Dev Rao, who has been driven to the wall by the 457 visa situation as a result of his chefs not being able to pass the rigorous English language test which is a requirement of renewing a visa.
The second was the JCU dental school, which was denied the opportunity to pay five Irish dentists who were volunteering to teach students because only medical doctors can work for other practices in addition to their 457 sponsor.
“The only positive of the Bill is that it would extend the period that people can seek new sponsored employment from 28 days to 90 days, providing some sensible flexibility,” Mr Entsch said.
“As a whole, it is plain to see that this attack by Labor on skilled migration is a desperate distraction from their failed border protection policies.
“We stand consistent in our policies on 457 visas and will be strong in policing our migration laws on our borders, in the community and in the workplace.”