Fail­ings of 457s

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - JAMES AN­THONY, Joon­dalup.

I DO not blame any per­son try­ing to come to Aus­tralia to start a new life.

How­ever, the 457 scheme was de­signed as a short-term tem­po­rary visa for skills short­ages. I have first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence of Aus­tralian cit­i­zens not be­ing able to get em­ploy­ment be­cause peo­ple on 457 visas have taken up jobs that lo­cals can do.

In some cases a 457 will ac­cept a lower rate of pay. And there is no re­quire­ment for lo­cal labour mar­ket test­ing. The fed­eral coali­tion closed this down many years back.

There is on­go­ing de­bate about clos­ing down the 457 scheme now that there is no skill short­age and un­em­ploy­ment in WA is high.

Yet num­bers ar­riv­ing on 457s con­tinue to in­crease. Current em­ploy­ment stats in my in­dus­try – en­gi­neer­ing – showed there are about 50 ap­pli­cants for each job but on av­er­age only three are deemed suit­able.

The em­ploy­ment study found that many ap­pli­cants failed due to be­ing de­fi­cient in soft com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, which is code for poor English.

The 457 visas cur­rently make up more than 50 per cent of the an­nual visas filled by net over­seas mi­gra­tion. It is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the mas­sive 400,000 peo­ple added to the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion ev­ery year.

I think most of us would ques­tion if this is sus­tain­able (i.e. traf­fic con­ges­tion, house prices in­crease and in­fra­struc­ture costs to name a few).

The plan­ners and politi­cians tell us high im­mi­gra­tion is good for us so we need to get used to liv­ing in Euro­pean type-high den­sity ten­e­ments. De­vel­op­ers en­joy the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits.

But I'm not sure that's what most West Aus­tralians want.

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