An Illawarra union head has welcomed a major overhaul to migration visas and hopes it will put a stop to the exploitation of international workers. Skills in Demand will replace the Temporary Skill Shortage (formerly the 457) as Australia's main temporary skilled work visa, among other changes to be announced by Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil. This new visa introduces several significant changes for temporary skilled migrant workers, including more time to find another sponsor if their employment is terminated, and a clearer pathway to apply for permanent residency. Arthur Rorris, secretary of the South Coast Labour Council, said the federal government reforms would "stop the monopoly of exploitation", and inevitably be better for the economy by promoting fairer working conditions. "For decades now, we have had a business model develop in some industries where the exploitation of international workers has become tolerated and it has been factored in to reduce business costs," Mr Rorris said. Without reforms to the visa system, he said, tying international workers to an employer who sponsors them effectively "silences them and renders them powerless" to speak up over poor working conditions and pay. In 2022, the Mercury reported on two Indian nationals who had no choice but to work for substandard wages at a South Coast restaurant, in what Mr Rorris described as one of the largest cases of wage theft relating to individual workers in Australian history. The Migration Strategy released on Monday acknowledges a proposal by two researchers from the University of Sydney to establish the new Skills in Demand visa. Associate Professors Stephen Clibborn and Chris F Wright called for a "mobility visa" as a better alternative to the Temporary Skill Shortage visa reliant on employer sponsorship, in their joint submission to the Parkinson Review of the Migration System. "Migrant workers should have the mobility to switch employers, a pathway to permanent residency, and better protection of their workplace rights, and skill shortages should be verified independently so that migration addresses genuine labour market needs," Associate Professor Wright said. "These changes will mean less exploitation and more productive employer practices." Associate Professor Clibborn added that by extending the period for temporary skilled workers to find an alternative sponsor it would allow them to leave bad employers more easily. "Skill shortages will now be independently verified, and employers will have more incentive to attract and retain skilled workers by treating them fairly, just as they currently do for Australian citizen workers," he said. "This will help to level the competitive playing field, which is good for business." However, the two academics also called for further changes such as lifting restrictions on temporary migrants' access to social security and additional measures to protect their workplace rights.