Turnbull has axed the 457 temp visa scheme whereby companies hired overseas workers to do a job the company couldn’t find a local lad – or lass to do.
What comes like dash of ice water on your belly while lying sunbaking at Bondi was the thought that a government scheme had been rorted – imagine – who would’a thought?
Goat farmers are near the top of the list which will be a terrible disappointment to thousands of Muslim goat farming refugees.
The 457 scheme, like the road to hell, was paved with good intentions, if Aussie needed trained people and hadn’t any home grown, it made sense. But that was a theory, practice exposed the problems.
MM met a young IT guy from Ireland. He loved the country and so on but said he was bewildered when he went to work with the team of IT’ers – they were his equal or better, why had the company looked in his direction in the first place, he asked. What was more was that back in Ireland the place was full of Aussie IT’ers.
For my money we should not be braindraining other countries, but the problem is more complicated than that. Judith Sloan has ideas:-
All sorts of foreign workers have come to Australia undertaking jobs that could easily have been done by locals. Just ask a few mining engineers in Queensland who lost their jobs, only to be replaced by 457 visa holders working on much lower rates of pay.
And do we think Indian cooks are really needed to work in Indian restaurants here? Are local cooks incapable of mastering the required skills?
And does anyone believe that there are shortages of accountants, lawyers, doctors, engineers and another 190 or so occupations that make up the official list of those in short supply? The bureaucracy must take us for dopes.
Let’s face it, 457 visas have been used ruthlessly by employers because it suited them. These workers are compliant and can be paid less, particularly by inflating accommodation costs. They are lured here because of the prospect of securing permanent residency. It has been a win-win for employers and 457 visa holders.
The government has been slow to act on this rort. It has been obvious to anyone in the know that the scheme has been misused and abused. For the small number of instances of genuine labour market shortage — that will be accommodated by the replacement schemes — there have been a much larger number of cases of foreign workers replacing locals.
On the face of it, the two new schemes look much better defined and tighter.
The emphasis on English proficiency for the four-year stream is a welcome development.
Criminal checks are also important, as is the truncating of the list of occupations.
Australia is not turning its back on immigration by this change; rather, it is ensuring that temporary migrants enter the country on the basis of genuine need rather than simply suiting employers, some of whom are also foreign, and 457 visa holders.
We would expect the overall numbers under these new visa classes to be lower than the current primary and secondary 457 visa holders — around 170,000.
With the current rate of unemployment and underemployment, there is a strong case for local employers to source workers locally rather than from overseas, as well as increasing hours of work rather bringing in more workers from overseas.
For a detailed list of the 457’s professions and trades, click here – it makes mighty interesting reading.