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Monday the 29th April 2013
Volume 241

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In This Issue
DIAC Turns up the Heat on 457 visa Holders
Dear Students, 


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Today we discuss the issue of 457 via holders coming under attack from DIAC and what employers need to be ready for.

DIAC Turns up the Heat on 457 visa holders 

DIAC has released information which will no doubt send a few shivers down the back of many 457 visa holders. They will be requesting the ATO to hand over information regarding over one hundred thousand temporary residents who live in Australia whilst working for their sponsoring employers. These 457 visas can last up to 4 years.

Yesterday the Minister for Immigration Mr. Brendan O'Connor made claims that he believes about 10% of all 457 visa holders are abusing the system (read here). No evidence was supplied to support this claim and clearly the government is going into overdrive trying to look tough on abuses of the 457 visa

The government cannot cancel these visas just because there may be a perception that there are too many of them in circulation. However they can cancel them if they find employers are not meeting their obligations they agreed upon when asking permission to DIAC to become approved business sponsors.

One of these obligations (amongst many) is to pay their sponsored 457 visa holder the amount of salary which was approved by DIAC when they granted permission for the nominated position. These days the minimum base salary they must be paid is $51,400 but of course back in time it was a little less. Every year this minimum increases to match the increases in wages. Employers are not obligated to their 457 visa holders to grant them pay rises to meet the new minimum but they must be paid at least the amount offered in the original contract.

DIAC has always had the power to monitor employers to ensure they are doing the right thing but we have found in the last few years very few employers seemed to be checked. It is possible that this relaxation of the monitoring system has given encouragement to some unscrupulous employers to pay their 457 visa workers less than agreed upon with DIAC.

We speak to a large number of 457 visa holders and find that most of the sponsoring businesses look after them very well but occasionally, sadly, some do not. It is not that they are abused at work or treated like slaves, it is the subtle encouragement to work longer hours than their contract stipulates or are being paid less than they agreed upon when the visa was granted. We are sure there are other issues exist out there but we find these two to be the most common complaints.

It would be virtually impossible to monitor the hours a 457 visa holder works but is very easy to monitor how much they are paid. DIAC is obviously going to check of the taxable income declared of possibly all 457 visa holders in Australia. You will find in this article that the ATO has given official notice and it does not just relate only to 457 visa holders.

Given the advancement in data management it would be an easy exercise for a computer to flag incomes earned which appear less the minimum salary permitted. My Apple computer seems even smart enough to do that if you know how to push the right buttons.

The ATO data could also be used by DIAC to easily identify those visa holders who have received income from a second employer which of course is strictly prohibited under the conditions of the grant of all 457 visas.

Once DIAC identifies the anomalies they will send out a monitoring request to the sponsoring company. In this request there will be a demand to see the companies salary statements. These statements will identify which 457 employees earned which amounts. These will then be checked against the ATO data to see if they match. If the information does not match then they greyhounds will be set loose and the employer will be looking for the deepest rabbit hole they can find. No doubt they will pay an experienced migration agent to guard the entrance.

However the law and those who enforce it, have long arms, more than deep enough to grab any rabbit by the scruff of the neck and haul it into the spotlight. When the truth comes out and any cover ups are discovered the sponsoring business will most likely lose their permission to sponsor 457 visa holders. They will be free to run their businesses but the poor visa holders end up with a letter with the overall intent to cancel their visa if they cannot find another sponsor or do not lodge another visa application.

Whilst it is true that the employer has the responsibility to pay the right salary, taxes and superannuation (not the employee), when a business has its permission to sponsor cancelled; those who are being sponsored will have limited options to stay in Australia.

Some light reading?                                       

Have a few spare minutes and nothing to do? Try reading one of our riveting historical newsletters to give you a buzz.

Won't exactly blow your mind but might rattle loose a filling.

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Kind regards,


Karl Konrad

Managing Director



Jee Eun HAN,

Executive Manager     

Australian Immigration Law Services

MARN: 9904238, 0850073 

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 At Australian Immigration Law Services (AILS), we offer professional advice and practical solutions to all migration matters. Our team of licensed agents and consultants specialise in various areas of immigration law, such as skilled migration, business, family, and reviews.








It is a shame that it always seems that the minority always spoilt it for the majority.

All this hoo-haa about 457 visa holders who abuse the system really only relates to a small percentage of overseas nationals. The Minister claims it to be about 10%  but he is only huffing and puffing in an attempt to bring the house down.

Ministers should do their historical fact checking before strutting the stage in front of the media scrum. I can see history repeating itself here where these so call abuses bring about measures that were abandoned years ago.

Labour market Testing was once used to justify how difficult it was to find local Australian staff. However that system was easily fudged and only helped artificially inflate the number of job vacancies available.

Then came the list of identified occupations in demand in the labour market. This replaced the need for Labour market testing and offered a streamlined approach. Now this list is matched to the Employer Nomination list making it easier for businesses to sponsor their workers for permanent residency.

The Minister is now complaining the system has become too popular. Duh. Anybody could have warned him of that. Any visa that offers a pathway to permanent residency is going to be popular in Australia.

We find small businesses are often more willing to use the 457 system for the owner operators are quick to grasp the concept and to accept their obligations.

Usually the bigger companies with their multi tiered hierarchies are slow make decisions and hesitant to take the responsibilities for they read the fine print of the obligations carefully.

There is little wonder then the retail and service industries are driving the boom for the 457 visa explosion.

However this is no justification to label 10% of businesses as abusers of the system. Certainly not without evidence.

If DIAC was more diligent in running its monitoring system, as they used to be, this would have slowly weeded out any doggy sponsors.

However they have dropped the ball on this issue but lets not get hysterical and throw a tantrum just because a few bases were loaded and the home runs have made it through, unnoticed.




Karl Konrad

Managing Director 

Karl Konrad



Han Photo with Jacket

Executive Manager

Jee Eun HAN

Australian Immigration Law Services  

phone: 61 2 92791991 | fax: 61 2 9279 1994
email: | website: 


 Level 13, 37 York Street Sydney NSW 2000

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