Immigration Minister to fight illegal work practices, but encourage productive migrants

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made one of his first public speeches as Minister at the Migration Institute of Australia Conference in October 2013.  This gave an interesting insight into the new liberal government’s priorities in the immigration portfolio.

The overwhelming message was that whilst productive migrants were welcome, individuals and employers who do the wrong thing will be punished.  It was clear that the Minister’s main initial focus was to enhance the integrity of all aspects of the migration program.

Below are some of the main areas of focus where the Minister saw integrity issues.

Operation Sovereign Borders

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Asylum seekers in Australia has been a hot topic of discussion and the focus of many media stories and articles.  Morrison affirmed that their new policies have been successful so far, with a significant decline in boat arrivals in the last month.

According to Morrison, a strong border for Australia is a pre-requisite for a strong immigration program.

Cracking Down on Illegal Workers

When it comes to having overseas workers in your business, immigration compliance should definitely be a priority and best practices put in place.  Morrison was adamant that immigration laws will be upheld, and measures will be taken to ensure businesses and visa holders are complying with the law.

According to Morrison,  apart from the obvious reasons of breaking the law, illegal workers damage support, integrity and cause uncertainty in the immigration program.

“A Fair Go for Those Who Have a Go”

Morrison’s philosophy for the migration program is to give “A fair go for those who have a go”.  Morrison stated that the economic participation of migrants in Australia is the main objective of the immigration program and important to uphold as the key driver for immigration.  The primary purpose of migrants in Australia is to add economic and social value to our culture and society – evident in the low unemployment rate of migrants in Australia.

According to Morrison, migrants who have the skills that will make a contribution to Australian society are desirable and welcome, but only if it is done the right way – this means following the rules and regulations.

Saying this, the Liberal Government will commit to uphold the rate of skilled migration and will be continually reviewing the process and points test.

Shift to Employer Sponsorship

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Migration can and should support Australian businesses and Australian jobs.  In light of this, the government will be supporting Employer Sponsored visa, such as 457, ENS and SkillSelect streams.  Employer Sponsorship is a great option for small businesses to build their business and make an economic contribution.

Morrison stated that employers should be looking for “productive migrants” to join their businesses – those who work hard to improve their language ability, pay taxes, and generally enjoy Australian society and lifestyle.

In light of the government’s strong support of the 457 program, they will be ensuring that these opportunities are not abused or taken for granted by migrants or employers.  This means that anyone found to be abusing the program, the law will be cracking down hard.

So, the important focus for 457 will be:

  • Facilitating a proper pathway to decrease illegal activity
  • Adopting appropriate controls of temporary visa pathways.

If people abuse the program, the whole immigration program will be undermined, with critical values diminished.

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