The Australian Mines and Metals Association (“AMMA”) has strongly objected to the government’s proposed changes and restrictions to the 457 visa program – an opinion shared by many in the industry. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship itself has also raised concerns about these proposed changes.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said in a statement earlier this month 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,” said Mr Knott.
In particular, Mr Knott objects to the government’s plan of reintroducing “unworkable labour market testing policies” into the 457 visa program.
One of the government’s proposed changes to the 457 visa program dictates that employers must list a nominated position with a job placement provider for four weeks or advertise the vacancy in a specified newspaper four times to demonstrate that they have tested the labour market. Such testing must occur during the six months before a visa application is submitted, and the original advertisements must be included in the 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 and Citizenship itself has also raised concerns that labour market testing might put Australia at risk of breaching our international trade obligations.
The labour market testing policies further dictate that information about all Australian citizens and permanent residents who applied for a position, as well as why they weren’t hired, must be revealed as part of the visa application.
Mr Knott of the AMMA stated in response that 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,” and we strongly agree.
The government’s proposed changes are believed by many to be “short-sighted skilled migration rhetoric” that will do irreparable damage to the Australian 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.
Our experienced Registered Migration Agents at The Migration Place can assist you with a professionally prepared application and supporting evidence which will enhance your chances to secure a successful visa result.
We note that the migration rules change constantly, and the process is getting harder each year so we highlight the need to act quickly, and with assistance of a registered and experienced migration lawyer.
Zeke Bentley is the Principal of Irish Bentley Lawyers, and the Principal Registered Migration Agent of The Migration Place (a division of Irish Bentley Lawyers). Zeke Bentley is has been a solicitor since 1996 and a registered migration agent since 2002, and he is highly experienced in helping hundreds of families migrate to Australia from all around the world.
By engaging Zeke as your migration agent, you can take comfort that your application is being handled professionally and will therefore be processed as quickly as possible with maximum prospects of success.
If you believe that you may be affected by these changes, then please contact us immediately on (07) 3891 3333 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can assist you.