Senate debates

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Questions on Notice

Immigration and Citizenship (Question No. 1548)

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 9 February 2012:

Is the department aware of any cases where section 457 visas are being used to replace existing workers; if so, are section 457 visas being used within Westpac Banking Corporation to replace all software development and testing roles with information technology staff from India.

Photo of Kate LundyKate Lundy (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The department is aware of allegations in the media that Westpac's Australian employees are being made redundant after training the overseas workers that will replace them. The department assesses all allegations and takes appropriate investigative action.

The 457 visa is available to businesses to sponsor overseas workers where they have a genuine need to fill a skilled position in Australia. It cannot be used to train overseas workers in an occupation.

It is longstanding government policy to not disclose information about individual sponsor's use of the 457 visa program.