Disgraced former federal MP Craig Thomson is running a migrant worker placement business from his home base on the NSW central coast, offering incentives which appear to exploit loopholes in laws designed to crack down on the abuse of visa schemes in regional Australia.
Mr Thomson - who last year said he was too broke to repay his former union hundreds of thousands of dollars he owes it for credit card abuse - is offering cafes and restaurants near his home several thousand dollars to take workers on temporary 457 visas or via the more permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
Mr Thomson refused to tell Fairfax Media where he was getting the money to pay employers. But his business appears to be operating in a "grey zone" , according to some experts, because of recent bans on the payment of inducements in relation to migrant worker sponsorship.
The RSMS is designed to help regional employers hire migrant labour for specialised jobs when they can't find qualified employees locally. When a business has successfully a sponsored a migrant under the scheme, that worker can apply for a class 187 visa, valuable because it offers permanent residency with the ability to bring in family members. It is thus more highly sought after than 457 temporary worker visas.
ENDS - more behind paywall at Fairfax.
Here is a link to Craig's website.
Click on any of the links and it takes you back to the place you started.
Which is quite apt for the Thomsons.