'Sponsor selling' could soon be illegal in visa crackdown

IT COULD soon become a criminal offence for a visa applicant to pay a sponsor in return for securing a migration outcome.

Legislation introduced into Federal Parliament has the controversial 457 visa program and other temporary and permanent work visas in its sights.

The legislation contains avenues for criminal, civil and administrative sanctions against sponsors who actively sell sponsorships and powers to cancel visas where the holder has engaged in payment for visa activity.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator Michaelia Cash said the legislation sends a clear message to those who are tempted to engage in this type of activity.

"Those who think they can get away with this kind of behaviour take note, we will target you and we will bring you to justice," she said.

"Unlawful arrangements whereby payment, inducements or other incentives are promised or exchanged to try and achieve a migration outcome will not be tolerated.

"The practice of giving or receiving a benefit in return for visa sponsorship can have serious detrimental effects including possible exploitation, undermining of Australian pay and conditions and can damage the integrity of Australia's migration programs."