The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has unleashed on the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement (dubbed “TPP11”), which will reportedly allow employers unfettered access to ‘skilled’ migrant workers from member nations. From The Guardian:
The revived Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will allow at least six countries to access temporary skills shortage work visas without first testing the Australian market, unions have said.
According to the unions’ peak body, the Australian government has confirmed in consultations that employers will be able to hire workers from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam in 435 occupations without first advertising jobs to Australians.
The consultation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade appears to confirm for the first time that the text of the new TPP11, negotiated after Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, will lower Australian barriers to skilled migrants…
The ACTU president, Ged Kearney, said the deal would mean that migrant workers could be brought in as nurses, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, tilers, mechanics and chefs.
“Clearly the only allegiance the Turnbull government values is to employers,” she said, accusing it of putting big business ahead of “the rights of workers and the national interest of Australia”.
“There has been no analysis of how this will affect local employment, nor have there been any safeguards proposed to protect these vulnerable workers.
“This agreement would be a disaster for Australia and we call on the Turnbull government to immediately cease negotiations until they have proved that the deal will not come at the cost of massively increased exploitation and unemployment”…
This is pathetic by the Turnbull Government. The recent Senate Report, entitled A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, explicitly recommended stringent labour market testing of all temporary ‘skilled’ workers to ensure that employers employ locals first wherever possible:
Recommendation 7: The committee recommends that the replacement of local workers by 457 visa workers be specifically prohibited.
Recommendation 8: The committee recommends that the current exemptions on labour market testing for ANZSCO skill levels 1 and 2 be removed.
Recommendation 9: The committee recommends that the Migration Regulations be amended to specify that labour market testing applies to all positions nominated by approved sponsors under labour agreements and Designated Area Migration Agreements.
Immigration should never be included in trade agreements. Immigration is covered in Australia’s ‘Migration Programme’, and there is little sense in negotiating away control of our sovereign borders other nations – and in the process diluting Australian wages and working conditions – for slightly improved market access.
Trade agreements should be for trade and nothing else.