Senate probes working visas and small biz red tape

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Senate probes working visas and small biz red tape

The system of working visas, including the use of 457 visas, will be the focus of yet another Senate inquiry, while another Senate inquiry will look at impediments to employment in small business.

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The system of working visas, including the use of 457 visas, will be the focus of yet another Senate inquiry, while another Senate inquiry will look at impediments to employment in small business.

Small business employment red tape inquiry set up


A new parliamentary inquiry has been set up to address what the government calls “barriers to employment for private sector small businesses”.

The Standing Committee on Education and Employment has been given terms of reference to investigate Commonwealth government laws and regulations, focusing on excessive employment-related red tape and compliance costs and those “that inhibit small business expansion to create additional employment”.

The committee will also consider why particular groups—young job seekers, mature age Australians, those in regional areas and those with a partial work capacity—may be discouraged or prevented from working for small businesses, and how these barriers can be overcome. 

Committee chair Ewen Jones said reducing red tape and other inhibitors to employment could have a positive effect on the nation’s productivity and increase employment opportunities, which is critical for those who are at a disadvantage in today’s job market.

Submissions to the inquiry should be made by 8 May 2015 via the committee’s website or by contacting the secretariat on (02) 6277 4573.

Inquiry into inhibitors to employment for small business and disincentives to working for individuals 

New Senate inquiry into working visa system


The system of working visas, including the use of 457 visas, will be the focus of yet another Senate inquiry.

The motion for the Education and Employment References Committee Inquiry was introduced by Greens senator Janet Rice and Labor senator Doug Cameron and supported by a number of cross-bench senators.

Labor and the Greens worked together on the terms of reference for the inquiry, which will look at:
  • The extent of exploitation and mistreatment of temporary work visa holders 
  • The impact of the temporary visa program on employment opportunities for Australians 
  • The impact of the temporary visa program on skills and training development in Australia 
  • The role and effect of English language requirements in work visa programs.
Senator Michaelia Cash said the government would not support the inquiry as it last week announced it would strengthen the integrity of the 457 visa system in response to the Azarius independent inquiry, which, she said, had found no evidence of wide-spread rorting.

Greens Senator Adam Bandt said, in support of the inquiry:

"We may wake up when the mining boom is over to find out that we've missed an opportunity to skill up locals.

"And with persistent reports of overseas workers being exploited, there is a very real risk that we are carving out whole areas where Australian minimum conditions aren't being enforced.

"There will always be a place for skilled migration and working visas, but there must be strong protections to ensure that neither locals nor overseas workers are exploited.”

The inquiry report date is 22 June 2015.
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