Terms of Reference

That the following matters be referred to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 22 June 2015:

The impact of Australia's temporary work visa programs on the Australian labour market and on the temporary work visa holders, with particular reference to:

  1. the wages, conditions, safety and entitlements of Australian workers and temporary work visa holders, including:
    1. whether the programs 'carve out' groups of employees from Australian labour and safety laws and, if so, to what extent this threatens the integrity of such laws,
    2. the employment opportunities for Australians, including:
      1. the effectiveness of the labour market testing provisions (the provisions) of the Migration Act 1958 in protecting employment opportunities for Australian citizens and permanent residents, and
      2. whether the provisions need to be strengthened to improve the protection of employment opportunities for Australian citizens and permanent residents and, if so, how this could be achieved,
    3. the adequacy of publicly available information about the operation of the provisions, and
    4. the nature of current exemptions from the provisions and what effect these exemptions have on the reach and coverage of labour market testing obligations and laws regarding wages, conditions and entitlements of Australian workers and temporary work visa holders;
  2. the impact of Australia's temporary work visa programs on training and skills development in Australia, including:
    1. the adequacy of current obligations on 457 visa sponsoring employers to provide training opportunities for Australian citizens and permanent residents,
    2. how these obligations could be strengthened and improved, and
    3. the effect on the skills base of the permanent Australian workforce;
  3. whether temporary work visa holders receive the same wages, conditions, safety and other entitlements as their Australian counterparts or in accordance with the law, including:
    1. the extent of any exploitation and mistreatment of temporary work visa holders, such as sham contracting or debt bondage with exorbitant interest rate payments,
    2. the role of recruitment agents, and
    3. the adequacy of information provided to temporary work visa holders on their rights and obligations in their workplace and community, and how it can be improved; No. 88—24 March 2015 2375
  4. whether temporary work visa holders have access to the same benefits and entitlements available to Australian citizens and permanent residents, and whether any differences are justified and consistent with international conventions relating to migrant workers;
  5. the adequacy of the monitoring and enforcement of the temporary work visa programs and their integrity, including:
    1. the wages, conditions and entitlements of temporary work visa holders, and
    2. cases of 457 visa fraud, such as workers performing duties outside or below the job classification of the visa;
  6. the role and effect of English language requirements in limited and temporary work visa programs;
  7. whether the provisions and concessions made for designated area migration agreements, enterprise migration agreements, and labour agreements affect the integrity of the 457 visa program, or affect any other matter covered in these terms of reference;
  8. the relationship between the temporary 457 visa and other temporary visa types with work rights attached to them; and
  9. any related matter.

That in conducting the inquiry, the committee shall review the findings and recommendations of previous inquiries into such matters, including the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee's report, Framework and operation of subclass 457 visas, Enterprise Migration Agreements and Regional Migration Agreements.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Education and Employment Committees
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3521
Fax: +61 2 6277 5706
eec.sen@aph.gov.au

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