Visa complaint could see steel workers deported

An unnamed union has filed a 457 visa complaint against four Filipino steel workers that could see them forced to leave Australia.

The Australian reports the complaint is the latest salvo in the battle between unions and Melbourne Water over construction of a new water treatment facility.

If the complaint against the Filipino workers is upheld they will have 28 days to find another sponsor or be forced to leave the country.

The workers are employed on 457 visas with Briagolong Engineering, and according to The Australian the Immigration Department says the visas are valid.

Over the weekend Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor announced a bid to tighten 457 regulation in order to protect local jobs and prevent rorting of the system.

News of the complaints comes as the Australian Mines and Metals Association calls for a “cautious approach to 457 visa reforms”.

In a statement the industry collective said overseas workers were not used as an alternative to locals, and were necessary to get some projects up and running.

“Overseas migration remains an important part of our nation-building but is certainly not a cheap or a low cost alternative to hiring Australians, in fact costing up to $60,000 more per person in the resource industry,” it said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has denied organising protests at the water plant, which have seen site access blocked due to concerns about foreign workers.

Earlier this week it was revealed the AMWU would be questioned in the Federal Court about the protests.