Sheldon maintains stance on 457 visas

Sheldon maintains stance on 457 visas

Created on Friday, 10 May 2013 05:24


Sheldon maintains stance on 457 visas

Tony Sheldon, vice-president of the Australian Labor Party and leader of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), has been very vocal recently about the issues surrounding 457 visas.

Mr Sheldon called the temporary work visa a “form of slavery” in an article released by The Australian last month, commenting that employers andmigration agents were only bringing foreign workers into Australia to exploit them.

“It’s simply a way for unscrupulous employers to bypass the local job market and escape their responsibilities to employ and train our children,” he insisted.

Speaking on behalf of the TWU, Mr Sheldon revealed (in this article published last week by The Australian) that he wants to prevent businesses who have retrenched staff in the last year from using the 457 visa to hire skilled foreign workers for at least 12 months.

He has submitted a variety of other stringent proposals on top of this, including a sort of public register that lists all companies that have employed skilled foreign workers using this visa and how many of them there are.

Robert Balzola, legal counsel for Migration Alliance, wrote to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee calling for the TWU to retract their 457 submission.

Liana Allan, convenor at Migration Alliance, said TWU chief of staff Dermot Ryan told her “I don’t answer to you” when she questioned him over Mr Sheldon’s latest comments on 457 visas.

Ms Allan stated that this sends a clear message to all registered migration agents: the TWU is not willing to enter into a dialogue with migration agents in Australia.

Since then, a representative of the TWU has agreed to meet with Ms Allan. She has asked, however, that “a retraction and apology” be offered before the meeting takes place “to the migration advice profession who have been gravely insulted and offended” by the comments about “unscrupulous migration agents” that were made in the organisation’s 457 submission.

Mr Sheldon’s opinions about unscrupulous employers (with the help of migration agents) abusing the use of 457 visas seem to have remained unchanged since last month.

He announced yesterday that he is still determined “to close the loopholes that now allow employers to exploit foreign workers”, according to the Australian Financial Review.