Virginia, US
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| Simon Haag

Independent Review of 457 Visa Program

The Australian government has announced the establishment of an independent review panel into the operation of the subclass 457 work visa program, to report in mid-2014.
 
Fragomen is consulting with clients about their areas of concern regarding the program and will prepare a detailed submission to the review panel that addresses clients’ concerns and makes suggestions on how to reduce red tape while maintaining the program’s integrity.
 
What This Means
 
The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, has stated that the aim of the review is "to provide recommendations on how to maintain the integrity of the 457 visa program, while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.”
 
This is consistent with more business-friendly messages about the subclass 457 visa program from the Coalition government, reflected in a number of reforms the government has been able to make without the need for legislative change. The government has instructed all departments to 'facilitate not frustrate' business in its dealings with government, and this independent review could be the precursor to legislative reform that furthers the government’s aim of ensuring that Australia is ‘open for business’ while maintaining the integrity of the subclass 457 visa program.
 
How Fragomen Is Assisting
 
Fragomen has been invited to provide submissions to the independent review panel about possible ways to reform and improve the subclass 457 visa program.
 
Our participation in the current review provides an opportunity for clients to provide feedback to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about the program.
 
As the largest immigration law firm in Australia with a client base that includes multinational companies in most industry sectors as well as large and small domestic companies and organisations, Fragomen is well placed to represent clients in discussions with the review panel.
 
We are keen to work with clients on a detailed submission that addresses concerns on the operation of the subclass 457 visa program and to hear clients’ suggestions on how the program could be improved.
 
For many clients, a facilitative pathway for intra-company transfers is an important policy objective. Other issues identified in the feedback received from clients so far include:
 
  • The Labour Market Testing condition
  • English language criteria
  • The ‘gap’ between the 400 and 457 visa programs
  • Ambiguity in market salary rate evidence
  • Skills recognition, particularly for technicians and trades occupations
  • The administrative burden imposed by compliance obligations
  • An overall increase in processing times, particularly since 1 July 2013

If you have any questions or concerns about the review, or would like to contribute your views, please contact auadvisory@fragomen.com.
 
 
MARN 0849574