Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship issues its annual report

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According to the Australian Trade Union, there are two multinational companies in the country that are abusing the 457 visa program. They are using it in order to employ Hungarian workers and pay the 40% less the market rate. The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating the issue. On 14th November 2013, the ABC television network broadcast allegations that 20 Hungarian workers who travelled to Australia with 457 visas sponsored by the German-based international construction company the Assmont Group had been underpaid.

The men were employed to construct a computerised warehouse for the Australian supermarket group IGA in the Sydney suburb of Eastern Creek. The 457 visa is a temporary visa program that allows foreigners who have a job offer for Australian employer and whose profession is listed in the Australian skilled occupations list to work in Australia for up to four years after which they will be available for a permanent residence permit. SOL occupations list consist of such kinds of professions for which a shortage on the local Australian market exists.

All Australian employers that employ people with the 457 temporary visas must be able to show that they provide the same working conditions for their employees as for their Australian counterparts. This rule exists because otherwise unscrupulous companies may start hiring foreigners and paying them less than they pay to the local workforce. But one of the workers, Istvan Erdai, told ABC that the wages that the men had been promised in Hungary were much lower than the wages that they have actually received.

In addition to that, the Working Union claims that some of the certificates that the foreigners used in order to prove the skills in their trade are dubious. These claims have to lead to an extensive investigation by the Australian Department of Immigration and citizenship.

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