Thursday, January 8, 2015

Local Workers Sold Out

A new temporary entry visa for skilled migrants, without any of the safeguards of labour market testing and English language requirements, would be a betrayal of Australian workers.

Unemployment has risen to 6.3 per cent. Over 775,000 Australians are out of work. The total number of hours worked in Australia in November actually fell by 0.3 per cent. Youth unemployment is at a 15 year high of 13.8%. In the northwest of Melbourne it is 17.2%, up from 13.1% in 2013.

The Liberal Government would be much more helpful if it cut back our migrant worker programs that are placing unfair competition on local young people, and invested instead in our skills and education sectors. The billions of dollars in cuts by the Liberal Federal and State Governments to our skills, training, TAFE, higher education, secondary and primary education sectors hampers job opportunities for young people. Making young people ineligible for the Newstart Allowance is punitive and will do nothing to tackle the real reasons behind rising unemployment.

Despite the rhetoric that high skilled migration is needed for the mining and agriculture sectors, the reality is a high proportion of migrant workers come to Victoria. The Skilled Migration Program grew from 125,755 places on 2011-12 to 128,973 in 2012-13. In 1995-96 the Skilled Migration Program was just 24,100. The Occupations with the highest number of primary visa grants were professionals (4,656 or 51.1%) and technicians and trade workers (2,416 or 26.5%) in the 457 Visa Class.

As Skilled Migration researcher Bob Birrell has said:

“There are already significant problems with graduate employment in professions such as dentistry, computer science, medicine and engineering.

Liberalisation such that being mooted is going to crash head-on with that situation.”
The Liberal Government should be focusing on how to maximise employment opportunities for our own university graduates and apprentices, and strengthening requirements for employers to advertise jobs locally before recruiting ­workers from overseas, not making it easier for companies to bypass Australian workers.


  1. It's difficult to see the Liberal Government's actions on Skills, Migration, Education, Welfare and the Labour Market as anything but punitive.

    Their idea of ensuring people are educated enough to keep well paid jobs is to make it more expensive.

    Their idea of economic growth is to cut the spending power of the lowest (increasingly so) echelon of society with removing penalty rates.

    If 457 Visas are just leading to the flooding of the Victorian labour market instead of going where it is intended, then the system is broken. You can't on the one hand shout hideous prejudicial abuse about welfare money going to the wrong people (i.e. 'professional bludgers') and then ignore that your immigrant worker program has people going to the wrong jobs...and then cut security from the directly affected youth of Australia!

    They need to take a long hard look at this program, but who's going to make them? They don't seem to listen to anyone but their well paid friends in business who can't identify with the issues. How dare they continue on with their inane and overdone mantras of "it's our mandate and it's Labor's fault" this far into their first term?

    If they get voted out next election, it's their own fault and they CAN NOT BLAME LABOR for that one. Here's to hoping!

  2. This is an attack on Australia's wages and working conditions. Of course these foreign workers won't demand the standards now expected in Australia! It's all justified on spin and lies, and ironically, on the warped logic that this easing of visa restrictions will create more jobs! Leo-liberalism is a modern economic evil, and our government is caving into highly powerful multinational corporations at the expense of the electorate.