Australia Post is the latest employer to be accused by a union of employing unskilled workers on 457 visa holders to deliver parcels and sort mail.
The Communication Workers Union has said that Australia Post is one of many large companies deliberately turning a blind eye to contractors employing overseas workers on the visas.
“It's just cheap, unregulated labour that does not comply with minimum wages,” the union's Victorian state secretary Joan Doyle said.
According to a report by The Age, Doyle will meet Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten on Friday to discuss what she says is the growing use of 457 visas by contractors for Australia Post.
The Fair Work Commission recently affirmed that such visas are only meant to be used for skilled overseas workers, sponsored by a business to work in Australia temporarily. In turn, they can only legitimately be used if a business cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian citizen or resident to do the job.
A spokeswoman for Australia Post vehemently denied the claim, and said it was not hiring employees on 457 visas to work in delivery. According to the spokesperson, Australia Post’s contractual relationships with contractors “ensure they comply with the law and provide appropriate working terms and conditions for people they employ”.
Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor recently incited debate when he said the allocation of 457 visas will be reduced because their use is being abused by employers. In March, there were 105,600 such visa holders in Australia – a 19% rise on the figures from last year.