The following article was found on Tasmanian Times:
‘457 Outrage’ by Nigel Burch 21st May 2012
You may not have heard about it, but last week immigration officers visited Tasmania to assist employers with Australian Labor Government’s 457 work visa applications.
What are 457 Visas? They are the way that employers such as the big mining companies in WA bring in overseas workers to fill jobs that should have gone to Australians.
457s can be useful for small businesses, but all too often big WA companies con the Federal government by saying that they can’t get local workers, so they have to be allowed to bring in foreigners. They even con otherwise street-smart people like David Koch on Sunrise, who then do their campaigning for them.
Where are all the so-called skills shortages? And where are the jobs that they can’t find Australian workers for? Aquasure advertised jobs for tradesmen and assistants at the Victorian desalination plant recently and got 14,000 applications! Thiess advertised positions at the Gorgon offshore project in WA and got swamped by the huge number of applications they got from highly skilled workers including engineers. They turned away a huge number of applicants. A recent “investigation” by a WA Labor politician identified a shortage of welders and pipelayers. This is not a serious skills shortage, even if there are unfilled jobs in those trades. Pipelayers can be trained up in 6 months and welders in 12 months, if any government or company is genuine enough to provide the training places. I find the shortage questionable anyway – in respect of welding, Australia has huge numbers trained and some are the best welders in the world, courtesy of the Collins submarine project.
If Australia is experiencing, as Ms Ridout at the Reserve Bank says, “a very, very big investment boom”, then where is the very, very big training program?
My friends, family and I have directly experienced the con that is the so-called skills shortage. A large WA mining company advertises for labour for example – but specifies that they want people who are qualified and experienced. That means that they can reject most of us for these high-paid jobs. Even when we have the qualifications, we don’t have and can’t get mining experience. Then the big companies go to the government, complain about a “skills shortage” and get 457 visas to bring in foreign workers. But the foreign workers don’t have suitable qualifications and aren’t experienced! The companies give them minimal training and pay them less. Herein lies the key – their cost of labour falls.
The trouble with this is that Australia loses the benefit of the mining boom. The big companies in WA minimise their tax as much as possible, use foreign workers and pay large dividends offshore.
Meanwhile they deplete our resources and their activities push up the Australian dollar, crippling our other industries such as farming and manufacturing.
Then the Federal Labor government, instead of calling the big companies’ bluff and providing workers to the meet the alleged skills shortages, comes to the State with the highest unemployment – Tasmania – to assist employers to bring in foreign workers! What an outrage!
And where do they go for the seminars? Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and St Helens.
St Helens??? How many employers in St Helens are looking for foreign workers and having trouble with their 457 applications??? Or could this have been just another junket by overpaid and underworked Canberra bureaucrats who have absolutely no supervision from their incompetent Ministers?
Around 457oF is where paper spontaneously ignites. I have to say that 457 visas certainly make me burn!