The Government?s controversial bill to crack down on 457 visa abuse will become law, after it was passed by the Upper House today by 37 votes to 29.
Voting on the bill was left until the last minutes of the Senate sitting, the last time parliament will meet before the federal election.
Earlier in the day Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told journalists it “seems reasonable” that employers engaged in local testing before recourse to using 457s.
“I will be attentive to any real cases on listening to the business community to see whether it?s created a real business problem rather than a rhetorical one,” he said.
The Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill amends the Migration Act, forcing companies to place advertisements for jobs to prove they have looked to fill them locally first. It also gives Fair Work inspectors powers to investigate potential breaches.
The bill was passed without the amendments proposed by independent MP Bob Katter and greens deputy leader Adam Bandt.
The Bill was first introduced by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who singled out the Australian technology industry for using the 457 programme as a substitute for hiring local workers.
She was later criticised by members of her own party for the way the crackdown was communicated to the electorate.
Business groups have been broadly against the bill, arguing any rorting of the scheme has been isolated.
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