Monday, September 28, 2015

457 Visa Workers Used to Undercut Australian Workers

I received a troubling letter from Mr Geoff McMahon, a constituent of mine who lives in North Coburg. Geoff is a 61 year old highly qualified electrical engineer. He has worked on numerous Australian fly in fly out resources jobs and says proudly that he has never been on the dole.

But in the last 18 months he has seen all his engineering roles handed to 457 visa workers, and has had just three months work.

He says Julie Bishop's statement that 457 visa workers who come to Australia are paid the same as their Australian counterparts "is a lie". He says he can testify from working alongside them that migrant workers are paid less. "While on the Santos GLNG project in Queensland, of the 105 engineers on gas compression Hub 04, I was one of two Australians, the rest were 457 visa workers. The Filipino engineers were paid $8 per hour. I told the Filipino that they are entitled to better pay. They all emphatically stated that they will not rock the boat and that $8 per hour was good pay for them".

Geoff McMahon concludes his letter with the plea "Please rid this country of 457 workers. I need to work". He is right. With 800,000 people in this country out of work – and many more like Geoff who don't count as unemployed but who are underemployed – 457s are an employer rort. We should wind down the 457 program and make sure Australian workers have the opportunities, the training, and the right financial incentives to do these jobs.

1 comment:

  1. The 457 visa rort, along with all the uncapped number of temporary visa categories, is to unashamedly undercut local workers and job seekers. It's about liberalizing employers being able to seek an international workforce, and push down wages, and working conditions. We vote for politicians to represent the interests of Australians, yet they blatantly end up as powerful mouthpieces for corporations and global investors. At the same time, the welfare budget and unemployment rates blow out, and costs of training and education continues to rise. In turn we then have "skills shortages" to justify importing more migrants from overseas! Any "shortages" of local skilled workers is a result of poor economic management, and governments being hijacked by business interests. It's downright corruption!