Labor vows to tighten visa rules
Businesses using overseas labour or visiting students to top-up their workforces would face new rules including an “Australian jobs test” under proposals to unveiled by Opposition leader Bill Shorten last week.
In a sign the ALP is targeting concerns about high unemployment and falling apprenticeship rates, Mr Shorten outlined a suite of changes to overseas working visas.
It follows a sharp rise in underemployment, cases of worker exploitation involving university students and concerns about the range of 457 visa categories.
Mr Shorten said more than one million people in Australia were on some form of work visa, even though there were parts of the country where unemployment was more than 10 per cent.
In WA, where unemployment is at 6.3 per cent, there are 12,733 457 primary visa workers.
Of those, 2180 are in construction and 1987 in food and hospitality. Mr Shorten said while there would always be a need for skilled overseas workers, it made no sense there were 651 jobs on the sponsored occupations list, including carpenters, cooks, early childhood educators and motor mechanics.
Under Labor’s plans, firms wanting to bring in workers would have to advertise in Australia for at least four weeks and there would be a ban on ads that only targeted overseas workers.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Labor would bring in tougher rules for overseas working visas.