Employers required to consult unions on s457s

Employers and recruitment companies seeking to bring skilled workers into Australia under non-standard s457 arrangements will now be required to consult with unions and other stakeholders, Immigration Minister Chris Evans has announced.

Businesses are able to vary standard s457 requirements dealing with wage or skills levels by entering a labour agreement with the Government, with negotiations often taking place on an industry wide basis.

The new requirement means they will now be required to consult with professional associations, peak bodies and unions on the content of any labour agreement and pass their views on to the Government.

Evans says consulted groups will not be given a veto over s457 labour agreements, but their views will be taken into account by the Department of Immigration in considering whether to approve an agreement.

The change follows recent comments by Evans expressing surprise at the extent of employer exploitation of foreign workers brought to Australia under s457s.

But the new requirement is unlikely to please the recruitment industry, which has struggled to have its concerns about onerous training requirements imposed by s457 labour agreements addressed by current and former governments.

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