SCOMO GOVT PUSH FOR MORE WORKING HOLIDAY VISAS … A KICK IN THE GUTS SO SAY WE ALL!

IS Scomo taking advantage of a gap created by Brexit?

AUSTRALIA has high youth unemployment and underemployment yet the Morrison government is conducting talks with 13 countries to add to an existing 44 with working holiday Visa deals in place!

WHAT about ensuring jobs for Indigenous Workers in our Regions?

-from October govt to boost visas for Polish workers by 1000 spots

-mounting evidence working holiday Visas are being used to drive down wages and conditions

Australian government is pressing to get a free-trade deal with Indonesia through Parliament

.to boost the number of working holiday visas for people from South East Asia

-to increase the cap on 12-month working holiday visas for people aged between 18 and 30 from 1,000 to 5,000; with access to more than 40,000 young workers

a 2016 study found nearly 32 per cent of these workers were paid around half the legal minimum wage

.on the Coffs Coast Berry Farmers are driving around in European Limousines … do some get a go more than others?

Unions label government’s push for more working holiday visas a ‘kick in the guts’

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O'Connor said the increase in working holiday visas was a 'kick in the guts' to local workers.

2 OCTOBER 2019

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said the increase in working holiday visas was a “kick in the guts” to local workers. Source: AAP

The Australian government says an increase in the number of working holiday visas would help fill job shortages in regional areas but unions are furious about the plan.

A pledge to increase the number of working holiday visas for Polish nationals has riled unions who are convinced the plan will lead to increased worker exploitation.

From this month the Morrison government is boosting the number of visas for Polish working holiday makers by 1,000 spots.

Immigration Minister David Coleman says the proposal aims to push more young people into the regions to fill skill shortages and strengthen cultural ties.

But CFMMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor has labelled the move a ‘kick in the guts’ to local workers.

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O'Connor said more working holiday visas are being used to "being used to drive down wages and conditions."

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said more working holiday visas are being used to “being used to drive down wages and conditions.”AAP

Working holiday visas are meant to facilitate cultural exchanges, but there is mounting evidence that they are being used to drive down wages and conditions,” he said.

“This is a time when the government should be curbing the program, not expanding it.”

But Immigration Minister David Coleman told SBS News the visa program supported regional areas and helped boost local economies.

“Working holiday-makers inject billions a year into the Australian economy, support Australian jobs and are a critical source of seasonal labour for our farmers,” he said. 

The Australian government is pushing to increase the number of working holiday visas to allow thousands more foreign workers to take up activity on Australian farms.

This includes its latest decision to up working holiday places for Polish nationals from 500 per year to 1,500 annually.

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File photo

Backpackers, international students losing out on $1 billion in unpaid wages

But also comes alongside the Immigration Minister last week announcing there had been a 20 per cent increase in the number of these holidaymakers working regionally. 

“This Government is supporting regional businesses to fill gaps in employment and generate income through the spending of working holidaymakers,” he said.

Immigration Minister David Coleman says the increase in working holiday visas will help fill job shortages in regional areas.

Immigration Minister David Coleman says the increase in working holiday visas will help fill job shortages in regional areas.AAP

*Meanwhile, the Australian government is pressing to get a free-trade deal with Indonesia through Parliament to boost the number of working holiday visas for people from South East Asia.

The deal would increase the cap on 12-month working holiday visas for people aged between 18 and 30 from these countries from 1,000 to 5,000 – but is facing opposition in the Senate.

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The government wants to increase the cap on the number of working holiday makers.

Expansion of Australia’s working holiday visa scheme faces Senate hurdle

Mr Coleman said those against the working holiday program would deny regional Australian communities access to more than 40,000 young workers. 

“All workers in Australia have the same rights and protections at work, regardless of their citizenship or visa status,” he said.

But Mr O’Connor is concerned over the impact from the number of temporary visa holders having “steadily increased” for years.

*“The expansion of the program is occurring without any consideration on the impact of the local labour market or wages and conditions,” Mr O’Connor said.

The Migrant Workers Taskforce this year cited a 2016 study which found nearly 32 per cent of these workers were paid around half the legal minimum wage.

National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Maher has defended such increases saying the working holiday markers are indeed needed in regional areas.

“We’re very keen to get backpackers and make sure they can continue to work on farms,” he told SBS News last week.

“Backpackers come and stay for two or three years and it’s a great cultural exchange, they can earn some money, but we do need to get measures that allow people to stay for a longer period of time.”

The Morrison government says the increase in working holiday makers will support regional economies.

The Morrison government says the increase in working holiday makers will support regional economies. AAP

On their first visa, Polish nationals who do three months of work in a regional area will become eligible for a second work holiday visa.

While, if people complete a further six-months of specified work regionally during their second year then they become eligible for a third-year visa.

The Morrison government is conducting talk with 13 countries to allow citizens to apply for such working holiday visas. This would add to an existing 44 with deals in place. 

SOURCE: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/unions-label-government-s-push-for-more-working-holiday-visas-a-kick-in-the-guts?cx_cid=edm:newspm:2019

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