La­bor vows to tighten visa rules

Pilbara News - - News - Shane Wright

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.

Pic­ture: Ian Munro

Op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten said La­bor would bring in tougher rules for over­seas work­ing visas.

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