With Nationals leadership tensions hitting fever pitch, Scott Morrison has capitulated under pressure from his Coalition counterparts to loosen the rules of Australia’s 457-style visa program.
Rather than investing in skills and training for local workers, Immigration Minister David Coleman announced today eighteen more occupations in regional areas will now be available to overseas workers.
It is clear the Liberals are obsessed with importing overseas workers on 457-style visas rather than training Australian workers first. Is this part of their “economic plan” just like driving down the wages of Australian workers?
More and more occupations have crept their way onto the skilled occupation lists under the Liberals – with no guarantees from the Morrison Government that local workers won’t be overlooked for overseas workers on 457-style visas.
The Liberals have failed to address workforce shortages facing Australia’s agriculture sector for close to six years and now, on the eve of the election and facing a comeback from the “elected Deputy Prime Minister of Australia”, we see Scott Morrison open the door for more 457-style visas.
In government, Labor will establish the Australian Skills Authority – an independent, labour market testing body to determine genuine skills needs and restrict temporary work visas to those areas.
The Australian Skills Authority will work in consultation with industry, unions, higher education and TAFE sectors, and State and Local Governments to make sure 457-style visas will only be available when a genuine skills gap cannot be met with local workers.
It will also project Australia’s future skills shortages and train Australian workers for those jobs because no skills shortage should last one day longer that it takes to train an Australian to do that job.
Unlike the Morrison Government, Labor is committed to getting the balance right – we will work with all stakeholders to ensure the visa system addresses genuine shortages in the agribusiness sector and does not undermine local jobs, wages or conditions.
Only Labor will fight for local workers to have the first shot at local jobs, invest in skills and training and crack down on skilled visa rorts.