LABOR: Temporary Visa Tsunami is Crushing WAGES!
Temporary migrant visas issued for 2.2 million
- EXCLUSIVE ROSIE LEWIS REPORTER@rosieslewis
- NOVEMBER 27, 2019
- 23 COMMENTS
Labor has called for an urgent examination of the temporary visa regime following new analysis that reveals the number of migrants on the visas has jumped from 1.8 million to 2.2 million in the past four years.
According to a report from the Australian Population Research Institute, almost a fifth of the nation’s cleaners, store packers, and food and hospitality workers are on temporary migrant visas.
Labor employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said the “increased overreliance” on temporary visas to supply labour was of great concern when there was nearly two million Australians unemployed or underemployed.
“The government should urgently examine the current temporary visa regime with a view to identifying the extent of the misuse and overuse of such visas. Our first employment priority as a nation must be to provide employment opportunities to local workers,” he said.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the government was committed to ensuring Australians had priority for jobs and overseas workers were only recruited to fill genuine shortages.
The report’s authors, Bob Birrell and David McCloskey, warned the Coalition’s “jobs and growth” strategy was likely to see Australia continue to “limp down the low-productivity pathway” it was already on.
“While this labour supply abundance persists, employers do not have to raise wage rates nor do they need to invest in labour-saving equipment,” the report says.
Senator Cash said the temporary skill shortage visa introduced by the Coalition in March last year included more rigorous labour market testing and market salary assessment requirements than the 457 visa it replaced.
“Under labour market testing, employers must advertise the position within Australia to ensure Australians are given first priority. Employers can only seek overseas workers if they can demonstrate Australian workers are not available,” she said.
“We make no apologies for trying to get Australians into high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
Jenny Lambert, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of employment, education and training, said Australia was aiming to be a high-skilled, knowledge economy and many of the low and semi-skilled roles were not attractive career options. “The biggest reason for the growth in our NOM (net overseas migration) is international students, something to be celebrated.”
REPORTER Rosie Lewis is a federal political reporter with The Australian based in the Canberra press gallery. She began her career at the paper in 2011 as a video producer and has worked across digital and print platforms … Read more