23 September 2008

Immigration Minister warns employers about hiring foreign workers

Senators Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, has warned employers to exhaust the local employment market before hiring foreign workers after concerns were raised at a meatworks in Dinmore, Queensland.

Senator Evans has explicitly said his Government will not tolerate employers who take preference of workers on temporary skilled migration (subclass 457) visas over local workers. 

Meetings are being held with representatives from Swift Australia, a meat factory in Dinmore, Queensland and the Federal Government in response to accusations that foreign workers were being hired before the local workforce could fulfil its potential. 

"We want to send a clear message to employers that the temporary skilled migration scheme is not to be used to employ foreign workers over local people," Senator Evans said. 
"The subclass 457 visa scheme is a skilled migration program designed to assist employers to meet skills shortages when local workers cannot be sourced.  If an employer has local skilled people willing to work more shifts then clearly, they do not have a shortage of skills."

As part of the agreement for employing overseas workers on 457 visas, employers must be able to prove they have exhausted the local workforce for workers before looking for offshore labour.  Swift Australia, being meat industry labour agreement holders, must abide by these conditions or could face being denied further access to workers on 457 visas.

"We are committed to a strong temporary skilled migration program but need to ensure the integrity of the system.  We also need to ensure we continue to provide employment and training opportunities for Australian workers," Senator Evans added.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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