AMMA objects to proposed visa program changes:

AMMA objects to proposed visa program changes

Created on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 05:05

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has just revealed that they strongly object to the government’s planned 457 visa program changes and restrictions – an opinion no doubt shared by many migration agents.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said in a June 3 statement that using skilled migration “as a political football” would not blind the public to the government’s poor performance in the areas of employment, border protection and economic performance.

“Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor may be determined to deliver for his trade union mates in the face of all facts and reason, but the wider community is simply not buying into the government’s borderline xenophobic political campaign,” he said.

In particular, Mr Knott objects to Labor’s plan of reintroducing “unworkable labour market testing policies” into the 457 immigration visas scheme.

The policies state that employers must show they have at least attempted to hire an Australian citizen or permanent resident before choosing to sponsor a skilled migrant worker.

Listing the position with a job placement provider for four weeks and advertising the vacancy in a specified newspaper four times are two of the ways employers can demonstrate they have tested the labour market sufficiently.

Such testing must occur during the six months before a visa application is submitted, and the original advertisements must be included in the employer’s visa application.

Making this testing process a compulsory part of sponsoring skilled migrant workers has also been rejected by the Migration Council and Law Council, as well as members of the mining industry.

The Department of Immigration has also raised concerns that labour market testing might put Australia at risk of breaching our international trade obligations.

The labour market testing policies also dictate that information about all Australian citizens and permanent residents who applied for a positions, as well as why they weren’t hired, must be revealed as part of the migration visas application process.

Forcing employers who apply for 457 visas to reveal personal details about the local job applicants who were deemed unsuitable for a certain position could “jeopardise commercial-in-confidence arrangements”, said Mr Knott.

He is worried about the irreparable damage such “short-sighted skilled migration rhetoric” will do to Australia’s labour market and global reputation.

“The Gillard Government needs to begin to accord the Australian community more respect, stop insulting the public’s intelligence, and stop demonising 457 workers and their employers,” Mr Knott concluded.