MSL Increase

By Claire Zee, Acacia Immigration Australia Pty Ltd, 29 May 2008

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced on 23 May 2008 that Minimum Salary Levels (MSLs) for temporary skilled overseas workers will increase by 3.8 per cent from 1 August 2008. The increase in MSLs is part of the Budget reforms that are designed to improve the integrity of the Temporary Skilled Migration (457 visa) Program.

The increase will apply to new Temporary Skilled Migrants coming to work in Australia as well as those already in the workforce who are subject to an MSL. The change will increase the current standard MSL from $41,850 to $43,440 per annum. For ICT professionals, the MSL will rise to $59,480 from $57,300. In regional areas, the MSL will rise to $39,100 (from $37,665) and $53,530 (from $51,570) for ICT professionals. The MSL change could apply to up to 24,000 temporary skilled workers, depending on whether their employer had made any upward salary adjustments since their arrival in Australia. There are currently more than 68,000 primary 457 visa holders working in Australia, most of whom are professional employees on incomes higher than the MSL.

Furthermore, a Bill will be introduced into Parliament later this year to better define employers' obligations and employees' rights under the Temporary Skilled Migration Program. The Bill will build on reform already underway following the report of the business-led External Reference Group (ERG). The legislation will create a monitoring and civil penalties framework for employers who breach their sponsorship obligations. In addition, a comprehensive information strategy will reduce the potential for exploitation by promoting awareness of rights and obligations of 457 visa holders and employer sponsors.

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