Labor leader, Bill Shorten says he has a “comprehensive plan” to address Australia’s high unemployment rate, which includes tightening the 457 temporary visa program. He argues the scheme is putting Australian-born citizens out of work.
Mr Shorten’s plans include more rigorous requirements for businesses to test the local labour market before employing visa holders, and a review of the processes used to derive the list of skilled occupations which allows 457 visas to be granted.
Here’s how he plans to govern the proposed changes under a Labor government:
- Mr Shorten says it will become mandatory for all jobs to be advertised for a minimum of four weeks as part of labour market testing obligations. Labour market testing will need to be conducted no more than four months before the nomination of a 457 visa worker. There will be a toughening on job advertisements that target only overseas workers or specified visa class workers and advertisements that set unrealistic and unwarranted skills and experience requirements for vacant positions.
- Business sponsors in specified sectors who have more than a set proportion of 457 visa holders in their total workforce will be required to employ 457 workers under a labour agreement instead of becoming a standard business sponsor. Specifically, Mr Shorten says the rule should apply to sponsors in the construction sector who have more than 15% of their workforce made up of 457 visa holders, and those with five or more 457 visa holders.
- Mr Shorten also said a Labor government would strengthen the enforcement of licensing requirements and skills assessments of 457 visa workers in occupations where it was mandatory to hold a licence, registration or membership.
Mr Shorten recently proposed a private bill to parliament, which includes a requirement for employers to advertise jobs locally against a more strict criteria and for longer periods of time before allowing offshore recruitment.
The active campaigning by the opposition has prompted ‘Australia-first’ campaigns by the Coalition government – and now both parties are promising to tighten rules for skilled foreign workers on 457 visas.
For more on the 457 visas controversy, read our summary on possible upcoming 457 visa changes under Government discussion.
Source: The Guardian