16 May 2008

Australian union head pushes for better migrant pay deal

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The head of one of the main unions in Australia says he wants to protect immigrants and ensure they are given a fair wage. John Sutton, the national secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, said he was concerned that workers arriving through Australian immigration on a sponsored visa are not being given a fair wage deal and wants this issue addressed.

Mr Sutton’s concerns come as he hopes to stop the practice of sponsored visa migrants working in Australia being paid entry-level salaries, a practice which he says is being used to "dampen down wage claims".

These comments came after the government announced that an extra 31,000 places were going to be added to the Australian immigration programme for the coming year. Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, set the record at the largest ever figure in order to encourage more workers to emigrate to Australia in order to fill the country’s many skills shortages.

The move has been welcomed by industry bodies including the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the West Australian Chamber of Commerce, with many hoping it will plug the gap in certain industries. A spokesman for Senator Evans emphasised that certain sectors were particularly in need, with professions and positions in both the resources and construction industries in urgent need of being filled by skilled workers arriving on visas for Australia.

The Australian MODL acts as a good guide to the occupations that are most in demand, with additional points awarded to skilled visa applicants in these professions

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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