Those in the industry should have observed that in recent times, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have updated their 457 visa approval notice templates. These notices have grown considerably. No, there has not been any major changes to the visa subclass or their conditions. The extra pages are because the DIBP has included a great deal of information on Australian working conditions. These include:
- Workplace rights with links to the Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman websites;
- Minimum rights and conditions at work including pay;
- Sponsor obligations in relation to the sponsored worker comprising of: the necessity for equal terms and conditions of employment, working in the approved occupation, reasonable and necessary travel costs should an employee cease working, and sponsors not seeking to recoup costs and fees for immigration applications;
- Requirements for payslips;
- The national minimum wage;
- General workplace protections from bullying, harassment, and discrimination; and
- Confirmation that employers do not have powers to cancel visas, only the DIBP does.
This is a welcome addition to remove any doubt and clarify what is required from employers and sponsored workers, to increase awareness, and to reduce worker exploitation. The notices also added information for domestic and family violence, sexual assaults and forced marriages, with links to the Department of Social Services’ website.
Migration agents should also be happy as it is hopeful that this information will save them time explaining to sponsors and visa holders, and that it will not be an excuse for their clients, not that it has ever been a valid one, to say that they were not adequately informed.
In the future, it may also be desired that information on general workplace rights will be on approval notices for any visa that has work rights attached.