A new temporary-entry permit proposed by the Department of Immigration to allow overseas workers to stay in Australia for a year without a 457 visa would create “open slather” on the Australian labour market at the same time it faces growing unemployment, unions warn.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has reviewed skilled migration and in December, it quietly released its recommendations to relax entry requirements for short-term foreign workers. Its proposals include extending the six-month short term mobility visa to 12 months.
The change would mean overseas workers would not have to apply for a 457 working visa, which imposes stricter entry requirements including English language tests. Employers are also required to demonstrate they have looked for local workers before giving jobs to employees from overseas, under a 457 visa.
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said proposals to abolish the requirement for language and skills tests for temporary overseas workers would worsen unemployment levels in Australia, particularly for young people.
The proposals would mean employers would not be required to demonstrate they had first tried to fill job vacancies with Australian workers before giving them to people from overseas.
A spokesman for the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Michaelia Cash said the Coalition government fully supported the principle that Australian workers have priority for domestic job opportunities.
“Contrary to union claims, an effectively managed temporary labour migration program will not threaten Australian jobs. Rather, it will secure the future of businesses and grow employment opportunities to enable businesses to employ more Australians,” he said.