Unnoticed by the lay public, the federal government since (the change of govt in) 2007 has been most erratic in its shotgun approach to immigration policy.
Dictated to by the Trade Union movement (a collective mentality that is far from forward thinking) the new government immediately made drastic changes to the sponsoring employer's obligations for "457" (temporary business skilled entry) visas.
That it is visa subclass number "457" may be a hint that there are visa subclasses aplenty. Off the top of my head I currently employ people who are variously on, 010, 119, 417, 457, 485, 573, or 857 visa subclasses. Were I to bother opening the filing cabinet I'd almost certainly find a few more subclasses currently on the payroll.
A few ill-researched & one-sided articles in newspapers, prior to the election, and your average unthinking lay person may have had the impression that a "457 visa" was effictively a return to slave labour, whereby an employer could bring in "loads" of people from overseas, pay them below subsistence wages for long hours of work, and keep them locked up in a corrugated iron shed on the jobsite.
Such events (rare) are of course already breaches of both existing Industrial Relations law, and of the sponsors existing obligations under the immigration act.
Of course, making drastic changes to sponsoring employer's obligations is not going to affect employers who are wont to treat their staff in nasty manner.
However....... under pressure from trade unions, the government changed the requirements for visa subclass 457.
No other subclass was touched.
Sponsoring anyone on visa subclass 457, a time consuming & expensive exercise at the best of times, and done only in sheer desperation, became a legal liability that could lead to bankruptcy of the sponsoring employer.
457 visas were dropped by employers, like a hot potato.
The unions were happy with their first step in the direction of a renewed "White Australia Policy"
The government was happy ("We sure showed those mongrel bosses a trick or two!")
Employers desperate for staff (where else do you get 'em?) commenced using different subclasses of visa. Many of these, instead of being merely temporary entry, are effectively instant citizenship.
What had been a working system of temporary skilled entry, became a black market, by shady immigration & employment agents, selling Australian citizenship to completely unqualified, & more or less unvetted queue jumpers.
As soon as they land in Australia they can walk away from both their sponsor and their obligations. And they do, absconding once in-country, as the Immigration dept (govt) is not seen to enforce, or even care about, people who breach the conditions of their visa.
No wonder there is a black market in citizenship. The price started at $5,000 but as soon as the gypsies realised what a goldmine it was (i.e. how much people are prepared to pay for Australian citizenship) the price skyrocketed.
From a standing start, via this blackmarket, it takes less than a year to become an Australian Permanent Resident. With citizenship to follow automatically.
Or the federal government could make the 457 visa subclass back into what it was designed to be, in the process killing off the brutal penalties for the sponsoring employer.
After all, they've just changed the English language & work permission conditions for student visas. To prop up the jobs of university academics.