Information for Temporary Workers
September 14, 2009 should have been a great day for exploited 457 visa guest workers with the Government announcing the introduction of ‘market rates’. However the new arrangement is miss-named and more accurately described as a system of workplace or site rates.
The CFMEU is concerned that whatever an employer pays in a particular company will become the applicable rate. Employers paying low rates, who are unable to find local workers, will be able to say they can't afford higher rates and use guest workers. The scheme will reward those who pay the lowest rates.
New rules for 457 visas
Under the new rules, guest workers granted visas from September 14, 2009 are now responsible for their own health insurance.
Employers have to pay travel costs for guest workers going home, but the guest worker must request this in writing. Make sure to keep a copy of the letter, to prove the request.
Employers are specifically required to employ guest workers in their trade and the use of ABNs for guest workers was and is illegal.
Employers now cannot charge guest workers for any costs related to obtaining a 457 visa including migration agents’ fees. In addition, it has always been illegal for employers to keep guest worker’s passports.
Employers who break any of the new rules can be fined up to $33,000 or given an on-the-spot fine of up to $6600.
NEW: CFMEU booklet on Sham Contracting
Remember, as noted above, guest workers should be directly employed by their sponsoring employer. It is illegal to require a 457 visa holder to work as a contractor with an ABN.
- Frequently asked Questions about market rates for 457 visas (from Department of Immigration website)
- A Better Life? stories of exploited guestworkers in Australia - Produced by the CFMEU NSW Branch (2009) with information on the rules for and rights of 457 visa holders in English, Korean, Chinese, Farsi and Arabic. Note some of the information in this booklet needs to be checked against the new rules above.
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