All workers on 457 visas entitled to workers comp

WORKCOVER is reminding businesses about their obligations to provide workers compensation policies for employees working under a section 457 visa.Businesses failing to do so could be liable for covering the costs of a workers compensation injury or face a fine of up to $55,000.The reminder was prompted by a recent case where a Taiwan-based business, Chia Tung Development Corporation Ltd, employed around 45 international workers in NSW on s457 visas without workers compensation policies.WorkCover's Executive Director of Workers Compensation Regulation Caroline Walsh said employers' legal requirements, whether a sponsor company or a principal contractor to a sponsor company, were exactly the same.

"All companies involved with s457 visa workers are required under NSW law to have a policy of insurance for workers compensation from a licensed insurer and to make sure they implement and maintain it," Ms Walsh said.

"If any person has entered into, or works under a contract of service with you - even if the contract is expressed or implied - then that person is considered a worker and you that person's employer."

Ms Walsh said some subcontractors were also treated as workers, meaning the principal contractor must cover them for workers compensation and declare any payments made by them to their employees as wages.

"If you are a principal contractor who engages subcontractors to undertake work for you, then you should also ensure your subcontractors have taken out appropriate workers compensation for their workers and their premium payments are up to date," Ms Walsh said.Principal contractors should check their subcontractors:

•are classified in the correct industry

•declare an appropriate amount of wages for their insurance coverage

•sign a statement declaring no outstanding liabilities, and all workers compensation premiums applicable for that work have been paid.

Ms Walsh said a principal contractor failing to conduct these checks could find themselves liable for their subcontractor's unpaid workers compensation premiums.

Contact WorkCover on 13 10 50 if you require help to determine who you need to include in your workers compensation policy or email: for work health and safety advice.

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