Australia News

Published on June 7th, 2013 | by john.weir

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Australian employers asked to prove workers needed on 457 visas

Employers in Australia wanting to bring in migrant workers under the 457 visa scheme will have to prove they have tried to recruit suitably qualified Australians says the Sydney Morning Herald.

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor introduced a bill that would require employers to explain their attempts to find suitable locals.¬†Alternatively, they would have to justify their need to turn to foreign workers by supplying recent research on labour market trends.

The long-awaited legislation spelling out the federal government’s intentions came as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott accused Labor of ”dog-whistling” over the issue and declared people on 457 visas were making a ”valuable contribution”.

Mr Abbott called on authorities to investigate the cases reported by Fairfax Media but said Mr O’Connor had failed to substantiate his past claim the foreign worker scheme may have been misused more than 10,000 times.While business groups warned the government was developing damaging ”policy on the run” in the lead-up to the election, unions welcomed the crackdown as justified.

Evidence that an employer had made genuine efforts to look for local workers could include job ads for the position and participation in relevant career expos.But there would be exemptions from this ”labour market testing” rule, mainly for positions requiring the highest levels of skills.

And in a move to ease the pressure on 457 visa holders who lose their job, the time they could remain in Australia before securing other work or leaving would increase from 28 to 90 days.¬†The chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter Anderson, said the bill would ”seriously restrict” the ability of employers to find skilled workers and the changes looked ”like overreach and mad scrambling to plug an imaginary hole”.

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