The Federal Government has announced the minimum salary level for foreign workers holding section 457 visas will increase by 3.8% from 1 August, boosting the minimum salary from $41,850 to $43,440 a year.
The Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans, says the change could apply to up to 24,000 of the 68,000 s457 visa holders working in Australia.
But Charles Cameron, director of workplace adviser Stratecom and the policy adviser to the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association, says there will be few workers affected by the change, other than some lower-paid tradespeople. “It’s not going to have a massive impact on the great proportion of 457 workers,” Cameron says. “Most employers are paying well above the minimum because that’s what the market demands.”
Evans also announced new legislation that will allow the Department of Immigration to pursue financial penalties of up to $33,000 against companies that breach their sponsorship obligations. Currently the department can only cancel or suspend an employer’s approval as a business sponsor of 457 visa workers.
Employers will also need to make a personal declaration that they understand their new obligations under the program.
Cameron says the RCSA agrees with the tougher penalties.