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February labour agreement termination a first

The department recently terminated a labour agreement with a company that was found to be in breach of its obligations by employing workers on a casual basis, underpaying them and providing false and misleading information to the department. The breaches were uncovered during a monitoring exercise by the department. The termination means that the company can no longer employ overseas workers.  

Labour agreements are formal arrangements that a number of Australian employers have with the Australian Government to bring skilled and highly specialised workers toAustraliato fill critical vacancies where suitably qualified Australian workers can’t be found to do the job. Overseas workers must be employed full time and on the same salary and conditions as Australians doing the same work at the same location, which protects overseas workers from exploitation and maintains wages and conditions for Australians.

One of the main types of labour agreement is the on-hire template agreement that allows recruitment companies to sponsor highly skilled overseas workers on 457 visas and then place them with other businesses.  These workers are often critical in filling the skills shortages being driven by very strong employment growth in the resources sector. 

Under the template on-hire labour agreement, the recruitment company must still meet their sponsorship obligations to their sponsored workers, even though they are on-hired to another company.

While the vast majority of sponsors do the right thing, the department will continue to follow any leads that suggest misuse of our visa programs or exploitation of overseas workers.  In this case, visa holders affected by the termination have been given a reasonable amount of time to find alternative employment with other approved sponsors.