Crean pushes unions for evidence of 457 rorts

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Labor stalwart Simon Crean is pushing unions to prove claims of rorts and malpractice in the 457 visa program as his party moves to impose tougher rules on importing foreign workers, according to The Australian Financial Review.  

His call comes as Labor said it would legislate to require businesses to prove all local labour options had been exhausted before hiring foreigners, with further fines imposed for breaches. 

On union calls for a crackdown on 457 visa rules amid rort allegations, Mr Crean said, “my point to the unions is give me the evidence to show this is happening", according to The AFR. 

Mr Crean said 457s were a short-term measure and unions should make long-term training their agenda, the newspaper said. 

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Anonymous,

Come on Simon...get real, lets say for example a guy on a 457 commits a crime, before it gets anywhere his employers sends him home, or guys say they have great quals and cant get them registered...home they go....but usually after they have done the work they were hired for....you should ask HR at RIO...how many so called lawyers they have sent home in the last 5 yrs.
Or, how Sam Walsh covered up knowing WA supreme Court was duped into giving out practise certificates to folk who lets say ***bent*** the rules. The answer you will get of course is those persons 457s expired and home they went in accordance with proper procedures...Compliance is the hardest thing to enforce and employers know it.

Anonymous,

Being someone suddenly too old to hire I wish Crean would provide proof they are not being rorted. In fact legal permanent migration is bypassing the too hard basket never mind the 457. Also in agriculture tried to get work after reading the same tired "locals do not want this work" but they rarely advertise in the local press? The ones that shocks me the most though is that people from overseas can open an ETA business then sponsor themselves! Not supposed to but find ways around it. Crean harps on about being old Labor but he and Ferguson are anything but.

Anonymous,

I look forward to the Union and the Government cracking down on the Chinese Government building a new embassy in Canberra using 100% chinese labour imported specifically for the purpose - and paying them Chinese pay rates!. Oh my - pardon me but your double standards are showing! Looking forward to the violent rotests in the leafy streets of Canberra by the CMFEU.

Anonymous,

The embassy is actually Chinese territory, what they do their is there business. Australia would do the same in China. If the CMFEU did stage industrial action, they may be the ones on breach of the law.

Anonymous,

nice to see the Government sending the unions out to investigate breaches of their legislation. Reminds me once more of the beginnings of the Stalin Regime - next step is to guarantee right of entry without a warrant. Ooops haven't we already done that.

Anonymous,

Silly comment. Occupational Health and Safety is a big issue, which OSH reps can start enforcing without permission from either government or unions. Since breaches of worker legislation must by definition involve workers, workers and the unions have an obvious interest in immediately dealing with such issues.

John Schmitt has also taken care not to see how the Fair Work Ombudsman's budget has been cut since 2009 (as was planned). "Breaches of their legislation" is not something governments want to investigate. They want sweatshops.

I invite john Schmitt to replace one of the NBN subbies working with asbestos pits and pipes - as long as he guarantees that he won't seek any investigation of breaches of legislation.

Anonymous,

Exploitation? Cop this lot:
• Jetstar using foreign cabin crews on domestic flights;
• FWO is also prosecuting Jetstar for employing cadet pilots on NZ individual contracts for work that was exclusively in Australia and covered by a domestic award.
• Filipinos electricians being paid $25 p/h, typically 60 hours p/w with no penalty rates, no holiday pay, no sick leave, one month off per year and accommodation is 12 to a house.
• Growers use mainly Asian or Indian migrants, and backpackers, at harvest.
• AMWU experience is that Chinese workers brought here suffer absolutely abominable conditions.
• In the immigration detention sector (i.e. Serco), British prison guards were brought in and given management jobs, discriminating and excluding qualified and experienced Aussies from high and middle management jobs. Top down and bully management style creating toxic workplace and culture.
• Security service provider saves money by employing 457 visa foreign workers, mates and detainees.
• in March ‘12 188 IT employees of Westpac Banking Corp were replaced by hundreds of Indians flown in, existing full time staff told, sorry ‘asked’ to perform "knowledge transfer" and train them up, then made redundant. Said Indians will return to India to teach their colleagues, who will be paid far less than Westpac's Australian employees.
• up to 30,000 nannies are working in Australian homes, with 15 - 20% taking cash-in-hand and not paying tax, meaning they accrue no entitlements, superannuation or protection from underpayment and exploitation.
• Ships Of Shame was a 1992 report that exposed gross shortcomings in the maritime industry - dangerous rust-bucket ships causing big safety issues, and also the mistreatment of crews.
• Indonesian and Filipino fishermen who earned $400 per month – on an Australian boat, in Australia.
• One Phillip observed: "A very successful West Australian company uses almost exclusively 457 workers(unskilled in the product until trained in Australia) employed manufacturing items using the product carbon nano-tubes - in industry circles known as the next asbestos [if shorter than a certain length]. After a few years they will all be sent home with carcogenic fibres in their lungs and the multi million dollar company and their insurers will dodge all their legal liabilities."
• repeat above, but substitute NBN Co subbie and asbestos.

Anonymous,

So, the class traitor Simon Crean wants evidence of s457 rorts. See list above. See how said S. Crean takes care to avoid seeing such lists.

Plenty more available if you really want to know, Simon.

Anonymous,

I agree with Crean fully. I think it's time the unions put up or shut up. Read the government web site re 457 visa's and you will see that employers are required to sponsor, monitor and report to government agencies on all 457 visa recipients. If there are breaches, it because of these government agencies let employers exploit the system. If it is happening, it the agencies that need a bomb put under them, not employers. They can be prosecuted.

No, this decision has nothing to do with 457 visa's, it about Australia's unemployment growth. As conservative governments start gaining control of state and territory treasury benches, the old Labor trick of keeping unemployment down by inventing jobs in the public service is being exposed. They need a new patsy.

Bring on September before it's too late. Who knows the next time you go in for brain surgery, the surgeon may be an ex carpenter. They are both skilled with tools and Labor felt that instead of employing a qualified surgeon from overseas, we should give one of our own unemployed a chance.

Anonymous,

Trouble with following US lead and creating a new poverty class by attacking unions instead of where the profits have actually flowed, is that Australian business actually rely on Australian consumers. Shoot self in foot is your preference. Not only is the system rorted it forces more demand more skilled migration which is costing us massively in infrastructure. Taxpayer paying for business growth is not sustainable.

Anonymous,

I assume this is in reply to my comment, I am not sure exactly what you are getting at. Who said we are following the US. The attack on unions by Crean and myself is not about creating a new poverty class as you have put it. We have attacked the unions on the lack of evidence to substantiate their claims. The government web site and government agencies are telling us something different and if the unions are right, and as you say the system is rorted, than it's the government agencies that need an overhaul. Our courts will use the government criteria to prosecute those rorting the system. It is not the unions job to investigate such matters, but relative authorities, maybe the federal police.

Again I point out READ THE WEB SITE on 457 visas first. Don't make an assumption because Gillard and crew, with her union buddies said so. Also tax payers are not sponsoring 457 visa recipients, the private sector is. The recipient is also adding to the growth of Australia's economy. It's a win win situation for the company, employee and economy. Unfortunately unemployment is on the rise and this attack is squarely on that issue. If we start employing unskilled people in areas where certain skills are needed, well lets just say that is unsustainable.

Anonymous,

The continued attack on unions has resulted in widening gap between have and have nots and plenty of skilled Australians are missing out on work. They are but 15% of the workforce anyway so the rest of us get no representation on this isssue? We are fast following the US model and left our egalitarian trait behind when Howard took to it a sledge hammer.

It has nothing to do with skills very often but pressure to reduce taxes required for educating Australian when migrants come with education already paid for. We have never been so skilled yet lawyers work as filing clerks and accountants do payables and payroll. Experienced may only get 2 days a week work. We do not need any more skills AT ALL. More you bring in more we need, ponzi scheme.The cost though is in infrastructure for business and new migrants. It is massive expense for taxpayer when migration is too high and we see clearly in the US the business take the skills, the security, the strong investment climate but leave the bill for the taxpayer while they make their profit offshore so pay the tax elsewhere. So of course then we get debt so then they argue for privatization so increase the wealth at the top.

We may have the skills in Brisbane when Sydney short, or skills in regional towns when they are required in cities. Big business do not care for Australians AT ALL. They see a global marketplace where they want free movement of capital and people. They are not interested in paying taxes to educate someone some areas, or to relocate to where the skills are. they want workers to be mobile. So we need a government that pushes against that tide, not goes with that flow or we will end up worse than the US because as I said, we still require local customers. So be pleased with vote Sept remember but you will be kicking the worker in the guts and small business will go down with them. You will kick regional Australia in the gut, 457's only fraction of the problem. Migration at the Howard level of growth is what is unsustainable.

Anonymous,

Egalitarian, Karl Marx had a theory on that, led to the formation of communist societies. These days, and from some of the comments I hear/read it would appears the interpretation of equality is far from the theories expresses by Marx, in fact more controversial. Australia is a capitalist society, believing those that strive, preform and succeed should be rewarded, not necessarily reward those that don't believe they need to. The most notable of socialist regimes, the USSR collapsed after 50 years. Communist countries have adopted private ownership, promote western culture including tourism.

Again I point you to the government website, these recipients must have skills to have their 457 visas approved. Further more I doubt any solicitors or accountants have been granted 457 visas, bearing in mind the guidelines. Do recipients of 457 visas contribute to Australia's economy and pay taxes, YES they do so where is the cost to taxpayers. You are aware these people are employees employed in Australia, paid under Australian work place awards, so can you explain what you mean by "while they make their profit offshore so pay the tax elsewhere". If you mean big international business, if the profit is earned in Australia, they pay taxes in Australia.

If Australia has skilled people to fill these jobs, I don't have a problem, use them. The criteria for 457 visas calls for shilled Australians to be given first choice for the job. And who's not interested in paying taxes, and who should be educating someone? Who should relocate and who wants workers to be mobile?

Workers in Australia have been kicked in the guts for a long time, it got nothing to do with 457 visas. Business, including SME's have been feeling the heat for the last 5 years because of over the top industrial laws. September may change that.

Anonymous,

Read my list, Colin. Nor does it make any difference to the issue of exploitation whether government is failing to properly monitor the situation. In fact, the recent crackdown is a good answer to that accusation, as well as being a good rebuttal to your blatantly obvious attempt to shift the blame.

Anonymous,

No one is shifting the blame Ambrose. There are procedures in place for such breaches, use them, don't create a which hunt because you are not getting your own way. The point of this article is that no one has produced evidence and it's all heresy. Some comments have appeared in this forum for example a petrol station console operator employed under the 457 visa system. The government criteria states clearly that is not allowed, so I doubt if that's true. It appears Crean agrees.

The inference of your comment Ambrose is that this government should be allowed to spend where it likes, with no responsibility attached or questions asked. If relevant agencies and governments can't monitor their own policies, what hope do we have.

Anonymous,

"Which" hunt, should be "witch" hunt. Your list as Crean said, where is the evidence. And as far as Jet Star goes, it appears they are being prosecuted, the system works, if you use it.

Anonymous,

Like my list, JetStar is evidence, is it not? As we both know, Colin, white-collar crime is far far more likely to be successful than blue-collar crime.

To quote from the visa subclass 457 integrity review of 2007: "The Review found that concerns about exploitation of 457 visa workers were well-founded." Or the RTBU: "457 visa-holders rely on their employer for their visa, and for any future move to permanent residency. This means they will not speak up if they are being underpaid or working in unsafe conditions."

Let's cut to the chase, Colin - you want sweatshops, you support such exploitation, and your aim here is to deny that it is happening, attack those who oppose it happening, and ideally, make sweatshops standard practice - your own wages excepted, of course.

Anonymous,

No it's not because this segment is about 457 visa's. Jetstar employers, as far as I am aware are not employed under 457 visas. I sorry Ambrose you are ranting on about issues unrelated to this story. I also understand the 457 visa integrity review was conducted by Labor. A Labor MP of the time has asked the unions to present evidence, indicating the review was a farce. Employee's applying for positions under a 457 visa are qualified and skilled workers, otherwise they would not get the job. These positions are also high paid positions. It is extremely unlikely they would allow themselves to be exploited. You Ambrose watch too many movies, because these workers are not in the sweatshop categories.

Further more I don't deny it is happening, however it is happening less today than it did 30 years ago, largely because of successful prosecutions. Wake up and join everyone in the 21st century

Anonymous,

I read with interest the article and the comments.
What I feel is that both sides of the house have been duly elected by the public of Australia to look after the public of Australia, firstly and foremost.
It would seem to me that both sides are too busy pandering to the biggest lobby groups. And don’t kid yourselves trade unions have such huge power any more, that has been taken away gradually ever since the Hawke - Keating era adopted Maggie Thatcher as a role model.
The other “unions” seem to have gained prominence ever since, these being the Mining Council, Aust Industry Group…… etc etc .
I do not mind 457’s for specialists (real ones)
I do not mind 457’s for shortages (real ones)
I do mind when people are not treated correctly.
I do mind politicians not looking after the constituents that elected them, preferring instead to look after those with the biggest cheque books. I am in an SME (small business and we are being done over by those who tell us they know best – both sides of the house are tarred with the same brush.
A sad state of affairs or sad affairs of state - literally!!!

Anonymous,

I hear where your are coming from John. I agree that union power diminished since the 1990's, but I believe has taken this trend upwards since Gillard has come to power.

I do think politicians are more concerned about themselves these days, bearing in mind they are on a pretty good wicket, and where else can you vilify, criticise and at times destroy others under the protection of parliamentary privilege. They implement a policy, invent a department to look after it, than forget about it. It seams they employ staff to sit in coffee shops, at our expense.

Anonymous,

To some extent I agree Colin - I don't see too much difference, we all need a little protecting, or fairness in doing this, including our employees. I this respect both parties fiddle the edges.
In my business, I am seeing that we are sliding in deep. The LNP will get in, blame ALP & plan only for the next election - same old same old every change of government.
As I said we are sitting in the barbwire canoe, trying to head upstream while both sides are still looking for a paddle play games very very sad.

Anonymous,

Typo previous - long day in small business wondering how long will be here!!!!!!
To some extent I agree Colin - I don't see too much difference, we all need a little protecting, or fairness in doing this, including our employees.
In this respect both parties fiddle the edges.
In my business, I am seeing that we are sliding in deep. The LNP will get in, blame ALP & plan only for the next election - same old same old every change of government.
As I said we are sitting in the barbwire canoe, trying to head upstream while both sides are still looking for a paddle play games very very sad.

Anonymous,

Nice to see the sensible veterans of the ALP such as Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson talking common sense but its too late to save the ALP.