457 system “out of control”: Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the 457 visa system is “out of control” and new measures are needed to help Australian businesses and workers.

According to AAP Gillard told reporters Labor had inherited a system from the Howard Government that was not up to scratch.

“Every step of the way we have been putting in place new conditions to crack down on the rorts,” she said.

“We've done that in the past and we will continue to crack down as necessary.”

Gillard said while she understood overseas labour was sometimes necessary, she wanted to ensure Australian workers had first shot at new job opportunities.

She also said there had been too many occasions when workers who were suitable were overlooked and companies chose foreign workers instead.

Last week the Federal Government said a manufacturer based in Perth was one of three firms it had caught trying to rort the 457 system.

The Immigration Office said the Perth business had been caught importing workers on a salary of $92,000, high enough so that they did not have to prove they met English language requirements.

According to the Government, once the workers were brought to Australia they were employed with a different company on a lower salary, and there was “no capacity for the department to reassess whether the visa holders met the English language requirement or were exempt”.

Industry bodies continue to call for a cautious approach to 457 reforms, and claim examples of companies cheating the system are isolated and rare.

Image: Irish Echo