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Information Campaign on 457 Visa in PH

FMCC Meeting with Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor March 25 – At the meeting of the Filipino Ministerial Consutative Committee  in Canberra, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Mr Brendan O’Connor said there is a need for information campaign on 457 visa in countries like the Philippines to make applicants aware of government rules before arriving in Australia.  Mr. OConnor said he would be willing  to meet with Philippine Ambasador to Australia Her Excellency Ms. Belen Anota to discuss further the matter,  according to FMCC member Mr. Jun Relunia.

Mr. O’Connor emphasized that there is no change in government policy on 457  visa .  He said the government emphasis right now is to crack down on employers who are not following the rules on 457 vsa.

During the same meeting,   FMCC committee member Ms. Carmelita Baltazar from Perth, WA reported at lest four cases about  the plight of  Filiipino 457  visa holders, Mr.. Relunia said.

Mr. O’Connor promised to look into the cases, plus further studies on the transformatin of 457 visa to Permanent Residency (PR), the IELTS  requirement, among others.

FMCC members who went to Canberra for the meeting were:  Carmelita Baltazar (WA), Lina Cabaero,  Bobby Lastica, Emily Rudd, Jun Relunia, Atoy Sayas, and Benjie de Ubago, all from NSW.  Previous minister of the Gillard government and now backbencherss Member for Warriwa Mr.  Laurie Ferguson and Member for Chifley Mr. Ed Husic  who were FMCC convenors were at the meeting  with Minister O’Connor.

Meanwhile, the  proposal for a reciprocal agreement on social security benefits between Australia and the Philipines may stil have to undergo further research and fact-finding also according to the FMCC meeting. There are reportedly 20 proposals out of 29  including one for the Philippines that are on the table. However, the Department of ForeignAfirs of Australia is still reportedly completing  a country assessment for the Philippines  which the FMCC is waiting for.

Senior adviser Mr. Max Jeganethn from the Miinistry of   Hon.  Jenny Maclin of Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Disability Reforms  gave an update on the reciprocal agreement. proposal.