As political debate about Australia's subclass 457 visa program continues to go around in circles, it has been announced that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will provide the Australian Tax Office with details of one million temporary visa holders in an effort to identify fraud and visa rorts.
Those targeted in the investigation will include 457 visa holders, as well as international students and backpackers.
The Australian recently reported on the upcoming crackdown;
The Department of Immigration will hand over the records of one million temporary visa holders to the Australian Tax Office to identify fraud and visa rorts, in a massive data-matching operation.The exercise will target the holders of 27 temporary visa types including skilled “457 visa” workers, students, backpackers and foreign sports people playing in Australian competitions.
Foreign doctors, film industry professionals, seasonal workers, researchers and employees of foreign government agencies will also have their records scrutinised.
The operation coincides with a Gillard government crackdown on the 457 visa sub-class, which it claims is being rorted by employers to deny Australians jobs.
The exercise will analyse records from three financial years, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14, with preliminary results expected to be available ahead of the September 14 election.
The operation will red flag individuals and employers who are cheating tax and immigration laws.
According to the ATO, the names, addresses and other details of visa holders “will be electronically matched and analysed with certain sections of ATO data holdings to identify potential fraud, and other non-compliance with lodgement and payment obligations under taxation law”.
“The ATO may also provide information to assist the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to maintain the integrity of the student and temporary working visa programs.”
Labor argues, with strong backing from the union movement, that temporary 457 visas are being abused by employers to avoid training Australians.
But it has struggled to come up with hard evidence of widespread rorting of the system, sparking claims it is demonising foreign workers for electoral gain...