‘Name and Shame’ Developments Down-Under | Pitt & Moore, Lawyers in Nelson
‘Name and Shame’ Developments Down-Under
The Australian government introduced proposed new laws enabling them to name and shame businesses that fail to meet their obligations as skilled visa sponsors under the Migration Act.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently only able to publish limited information regarding breaches. However, legislation introduced to Parliament in mid-August 2017, when passed, will allow the Department to publish on their website detailed information about businesses, sponsor obligations that are breached and any penalties imposed.
In April this year, somewhat similar 'name and shame' laws were introduced in New Zealand, allowing Employment New Zealand to publish the names of employers (businesses and individuals) who breach minimum employment standards and in turn restricting their access to the foreign labour market.
As at 13 September 2017, over 60 New Zealand employers across a range of industries and sectors have been named and shamed, including hospitality, freight, finance, recruitment, horticulture, early childhood education, automotive, hairdressing, building. The full list is available at www.employment.govt.nz.
However, the Australian legislation goes one step further. The new bill will also give the Immigration department the power to collect, record, store and use tax file numbers linked to temporary and permanent skill visas.
The Australian government has indicated that its aim is not only to better inform the Australian public about businesses that do the wrong thing, but also to deter Australian businesses from breaching their obligations. The government has also indicated that this move will help the Immigration department to ensure business sponsors and migrant workers are complying with their visa obligations and conditions by allowing them to match and access data, including salary information held by the Australian taxation office.
The data matching exercise, in particular, will help to systematically identify employers who underpay migrant workers as well as isolate migrant workers who work for more than one employer. As a result, we anticipate that a lot of students visa holders who work more than the allowed 20 hours a week will be caught out as well as those employers who are not paying their migrant workers correctly.
In the lead up to the passage of this legislation, businesses who employ, or are planning to employ, migrant workers need to prepare for a significant level of scrutiny from the Immigration department never seen before.
Talk to us
Contact our Immigration Team today to discuss how we can assist your business to reduce any potential issues that this new regulatory regime will bring.