New CFMEU Report Raises Alarm Bells over 457 Visa Trends

Australians to miss out unless labour market testing urgently implemented.

CFMEU Report, 2 November 2013

The CFMEU has today released a report analysing the most recent trends in the numbers of 457 visas, which clearly points to the urgency of implementing legislation that places a legal obligation on employers to prove no Australian workers are available before 457 visas are approved for temporary foreign workers.

The report analyses the recent Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) figures on numbers of 457 applications lodged, the age of applicants sponsored by industry and numbers already in Australia when they apply for 457 visas.

“This report shows a number of disturbing trends which clearly illustrate the contradiction of Australia’s rising unemployment  and employer use of the 457 temporary visa scheme,“ Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Assistant Secretary said today.

“With unemployment set to rise and youth unemployment at its highest level since 2002 at 12.6 per cent, the fact that the number of 457 visa holders has increased by 12 per cent says one thing: we must implement rules that make employers genuinely look for Australian workers first, and we must do it now.

“The fact that on websites like Gumtree employers are exclusively searching for people on 457 visas – some requiring no experience at all – makes a mockery of the scheme.

“Our report shows that at least 50 per cent of the 457 visa applications last year came from foreign nationals under the age of 30. That’s largely because 52 per cent of all 457 applications come from people already in the country on temporary visas like Working Holiday or Overseas Student visas, many already working for the employer sponsoring them for 457 visas.

“Without strict enforcement of the new ‘Labour Market Testing’ rules, our young people won’t stand a chance of getting a start in the labour market.

“The legislation must take effect no later than 1 January 2014, but under significant pressure from the big end of town, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has so far refused to publically declare when or if the labour market testing rules will apply.

“At the current rate of 457 visa applications, employers will be legally able to get 457 visas for 70,000 temporary foreign workers in the next year or so without having to advertise a single job for Australian workers.”

“The Minister must show his hand and set about implementing the legislation, as well as enforcing a clampdown on employers who rort the system, as he recently declared he would. These trends are far too disturbing for us to wait any longer,” Mr. Noonan concluded.

Key trends identified in the report which covers the 2012-2013 period and the first quarter of 2013-14 include:

  • There are 110,280 457 workers in Australia on a 457 visa as at September 2013, a staggering increase of 12 per cent over one year
  • At least 50 per cent of all 457 visas sought in 2013-14 were for foreign nationals under the age of thirty i.e. a total of 40,400
  • At the current rate of employer requests for 457 visas another 70,000 visa applications will be lodged in the 2013-2014, based on a 13% decline in applications in the 4 months to 30 September 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
  • In 2012-13 there was a 38 per cent increase in the number of 457 visa applications lodged by foreign nationals already in Australia on temporary visas like Working Holiday or Overseas Student visas, resulting in 52 per cent of all 457 visa applications being made onshore i.e. 46,610 out of 81,550 applications were made onshore.

The CFMEU has launched a petition calling on Scott Morrison to urgently implement the legislation which can be found here.

Click here to read the original article at the CFMEU website.

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