20 April 2010

Meat processors seek increase in sponsored Australian visas to ensure productivity

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Australian meat processors are attempting to negotiate a new labour agreement for 457 visas, to ensure productivity due to the seasonal nature of the industry.

Australian Visa

Overseas workers under a sponsored Australia visa are needed, say meat processors.

The sponsored 457 visa enables a meat processor to sponsor staff from overseas on a temporary basis to work in Australia, from three months to four years, before returning to the country of origin or being further sponsored.

Corporate affairs spokesman for meat processor Teys Brothers, Tom Maguire, says the company has been in negotiations with the Federal Government  to increase these Australian Visa numbers for 18 months and the pace of discussions has been frustratingly slow.

“What we are trying to do is achieve a pathway to permanent residency for a number of people who have been in the country for a number of years now, and we are also trying to align the labour agreement with the industrial arrangements in place in the different plants," he says.

"There are some traditions within the meat industry, such as regular daily hire, which reflect the seasonality of the business, and that is not reflected in the labour agreement."

The Labor Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, says the government has made it clear, not just to the meat industry but industry generally, is that the government won't support employers who employ foreign workers ahead of local workers and that industries need to reduce their reliance on 457 workers.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian immigration applications with the Australian Embassy.   

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