Maranoa MP David Littleproud has welcomed the Federal Governments’ move to abolish the Subclass 457 Visa for foreign workers saying the move will safeguard Australian jobs.
“This will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute first priority for jobs, while businesses will be able to temporarily access the critical skills they need to grow if skilled Australians workers are not available.”
“In My electorate, there are some jobs – like doctors and abattoir workers in rural and remote areas – which have historically been very difficult to fill locally. So, under our new scheme, businesses could still hire foreign workers to fill critical skill gaps, but not if it was simply easier than hiring an Australian.”
The move has also been welcomed by Australia’s mining industry.
The total number of 457 visas given to workers in the mining industry in 2015/16 was a quarter of that of industries with health services and a fraction of the hospitality industry, according to QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.
“Last financial year, 457 visa holders in the Queensland mining industry decreased by 26.5 per cent. Hospitality, health care, education, construction, manufacturing, IT and professional services are the big users of 457 visas,” Macfarlane explained.
Mr Littleproud says the next step needs to be a tightening unemployment benefits.
“There’s about 730,000 long-term unemployed Australians, of whom around 460,000 are skilled.”
“I respect a decision not to relocate but, as a result, they shouldn’t expect taxpayer-funded support through welfare. I have rural and remote communities crying out for skilled workers so my message is this: limit welfare to those skilled workers who won’t relocate to the regions to take up a job.”
The Subclass 457 Visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa. The new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.
More than 110,000 foreign workers entered the country in 2013 under the former Labor government.
Mr Littleproud says the changes will give Australian job seekers more opportunity to find work while finding the right balance so businesses can prosper by acquiring the expertise they need.