More fines for Employers who Underpay Overseas Workers

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Federal Circuit Court has found Labour-Hire employer Ram Kumar exploited overseas workers on Australian farms. Ram Kumar has been penalised $17,000 and his Queensland labour-hire company, Seasonal Farm Services Pty Ltd, has been penalised a further $85,000.

 

Kumar admitted his company had underpaid 144 employees a total of $60,780 between 2014 to 2015. His company also breached record-keeping laws and failed to keep any records for a further 70 employees.

Family Members Redefined

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In November 2016, legislation redefined the age limit of dependent children for certain visa types. The new definition is more restrictive on adult aged children. Rather than look at each situation on the facts in order to ascertain actual dependency, the government now apply a strict age rule of 23 years old.

 

If you have children who need a visa near this age limit, then you should consider acting now whilst they may still have eligibility.

Student Visa Cancellation

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During the last 12 months, the Immigration Department have increased the number of Student visa cancellations. The Department are using powers under section 116 to cancel student visas onshore, and using powers under section 128 to cancel offshore visas.

 

Many such cancellations are unfair and unreasonable. Those that are, can successfully be challenged in the AAT or Federal Courts.

This is the Real Australia

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Australia has absorbed an estimated 10 million settlers since the First Fleet arrived in 1788. The majority of these settlers, some seven million, have come to Australia since 1945.

The migration program has favoured skilled migrants over family reunion since 197–98. Over this century there have been 1,464,622 skilled migrant visas issued with 753,691 family stream visas.

The current position is that much stronger productivity growth is needed if Australians are to recover lost ground and return to the rate of improvements in living standards they enjoyed over the two decades prior to 2011–12.

The ageing of the population affects the long-term outlook on labour utilisation in Australia. As a higher proportion of the population reaches retirement, the number of hours worked will fall in proportion to population numbers. Immigration can increase the proportions of the population of working and child-bearing age, bringing an immediate, as well as a longer-term, effect on labour utilisation. Immigrants may also have higher participation rates, employment rates and hours worked depending on, for example, motivation (migrants are sometimes characterised as keen to work and as working longer hours) and culture (for, example, the participation rate of married women).

the migration program, with its emphasis on skills, is having a positive impact on Australia’s productivity performance. Migrants have raised the level of labour productivity by six per cent according to census data. Between 2006 and 2011 their contribution to growth in skills accounted for at least 10 per cent or 0.17 of a percentage point of annual labour productivity growth.

Source: Migration: the economic debate

Changes for Working Holiday Makers (Subclass 417)

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There are to be several beneficial changes for working holiday maker visa holders in 2017:

 

The maximum age eligibility will increase to 35;

There will be expanded work rights:

Application fees to reduce; and

A more beneficial taxation arrangement.

 

This follows on from the exposing some employee abuse by parts of the agricultural industry.  There is now likely to more scrutiny of employers to ensure all legal employee terms and conditions are met.