|Home||Skilled visas||Business visas||Temporary visas||Free assessments|
26 November 2013
An Australian trade union alleges that two multinational companies deliberately abused the 457 visa scheme to employ Hungarian construction workers in a Sydney suburb on pay which was about 40% of the going rate. The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating the claims.
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 contract for the construction was won by German firm Schafer. Schafer had sub-contracted work to Assmont which had secured the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visas for the men (better known as the '457 visa'. The men had been in Australia for four and a half months since August 2013.
Employers of workers in Australia with 457 visas should be able to 'show that they are providing you equal pay and conditions of employment to Australian workers performing equivalent work in the same location'. Australian unions insist on the enforcement of this rule because they fear that, if foreign workers are employed on inferior pay and conditions, they will replace Australian workers.
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. The union rate for c
The CFMEU says that it has secured $200,000 in back pay for the men
The Union also claims that it has suspicions that the men's trade certificates, which prove that they are skilled in shortage occupations, are of dubious merit. Mr Hanlon said that, because the men do not speak English to the required level, they would be unable to communicate with non-Hungarian workers on the site, which would create a safety hazard. He said that, therefore they should not have been granted certificates.
The two companies involved, Schafer and Assmont issued statements. Schafer said it was unaware of the issue. Assmont said it had 'every intention to comply with all Australian industrial rules and regulations'. It said that it 'will do everything necessary to ensure the claims will be satisfactorily addressed as speedily as possible'.
Union official Brian Parker said that this was 'just the tip of the iceberg' alleging that 457 visas were being abused all over Australia to bring in cheaper foreign labour and replace Australian workers.
He added that firms that employed foreign workers with 457 visas were often able to grow their businesses and employ Australians.
If you would like to apply for an Australian visa, workpermit.com can help. workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.