Via the ABC:
Foreign workers can be brought into Australia on the new 457-style visa as long as employers tried to hire Aussies first … on LinkedIn.
The Government this month tweaked its rules around the new 457, now dubbed the “Temporary Skill Shortage” visa, reversing an earlier decision to reject ads on the social network as part of labour market testing.
This testing — where employers are required to demonstrate they advertised locally for jobs — is designed to ensure Australians are given priority before overseas workers are hired.
At the end of 2017, 75,610 overseas workers were in Australia on a 457 temporary work visa.
The new rules mean an employer can satisfy testing by advertising in two places — for example on the Government job portal Jobactive and LinkedIn.
A three-week LinkedIn campaign costs approximately $500, while advertising on Jobactive is free.
‘Backflip’ in latest change
Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said this was another “backflip” from the Government and proof it “botched” changes to Australia’s skilled migration program.
He said Labor would introduce an independent skills assessment body if Labor won Government that would determine “genuine” skills need.
The Government announced major changes to the 457 program last year, but since then has made several tweaks following a backlash from migrants and businesses.
The changes have lead to a reduction in 457 visas. 25,000 grants to foreign workers were made in the year to March compared with 46,000 in 2016-17.
A spokeswoman for Alan Tudge, the minister responsible for the program, declined to provide comment on the LinkedIn tweak, but emphasised that the rules were designed to strike an appropriate balance between prioritising Australian workers and recognising industry recruitment practices.
Social media advertisements had been accepted in the past but the old requirements were less prescriptive.
In March, rules were introduced that specifically required evidence of two advertisements with national reach booked within the previous 12 months.
The changes barred Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram as well as general classifieds sites like Gumtree.
As of June, LinkedIn ads are acceptable again and the window of the ads was reduced to six months.
LinkedIn different to Gumtree
Wayne Parcell, immigration partner at professional services firm EY, said he welcomed this development.
“It was probably not clear enough to policy makers that beyond your own profile contact network on LinkedIn, there are also the LinkedIn job boards for which many employers, including ASX-listed companies, pay a fee, and the service has a national reach like other recruitment websites,” he said.
He noted the latest changes also allow industry-specific recruitment websites to be used, but LinkedIn ads that are designed to reach only certain contacts — for example posts visible only within someone’s network — are not acceptable.
Kevin Lane, president of the Migration Institute of Australia, said the March changes tightened up labour market testing but went too far on LinkedIn.
He argued LinkedIn was often used for senior executive positions, much more so than something like Gumtree.
“The paid LinkedIn is maybe seen to be a higher quality — it’s only used by people who are really serious about getting someone,” he said.
Programmers, chefs, cooks and accountants are among the most common occupations in the temporary foreign worker visa program.
Anyone would think that Australia had a tight labour market and none of the below was happening:
- The issue culminated in 2016 when the Senate Education and Employment References Committee released a scathing report entitled A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, which documented systemic abuses of Australia’s temporary visa system for foreign workers.
- Mid last year, ABC’s 7.30 Report ran a disturbing expose on the modern day slavery occurring across Australia.
- Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), Natalie James, told Fairfax in August last year that people on visas continue to be exploited at an alarming rate, particularly those with limited English-language skills. It was also revealed that foreign workers are involved in more than three-quarters of legal cases initiated by the FWO against unscrupulous employers.
- Then The ABC reported that Australia’s horticulture industry is at the centre of yet another migrant slave scandal, according to an Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into the issue.
- The same Parliamentary Inquiry was told by an undercover Malaysian journalist that foreign workers in Victoria were “brainwashed” and trapped in debt to keep them on farms.
- A recent UNSW Sydney and UTS survey painted the most damning picture of all, reporting that wages theft is endemic among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants.
- A few months ago, Fair Work warned that most of Western Sydney had become a virtual special economic zone in which two-thirds of businesses were underpaying workers, with the worst offenders being high-migrant areas.
- Dr Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute latest report, based on 2016 Census data, revealed that most recently arrived skilled migrants (i.e. arrived between 2011 and 2016) cannot find professional jobs, with only 24% of skilled migrants from Non-English-Speaking-Countries (who comprise 84% of the total skilled migrant intake) employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of skilled migrants from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates. These results accord with a recent survey from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which found that 53% of skilled migrants in Western Australia said they are working in lower skilled jobs than before they arrived, with underemployment also rife.
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest Characteristics of Recent Migrants report, revealed that migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population, with recent migrants and temporary residents having an unemployment rate of 7.4% versus 5.4% for the Australian born population, and lower labour force participation (69.8%) than the Australian born population (70.2%).
- ABC Radio recently highlighted the absurdity of Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program in which skilled migrants have grown increasingly frustrated at not being able to gain work in Australia despite leaving their homelands to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’. As a result, they are now demanding that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field.
- Then there is new research from the University of Sydney documenting the complete corruption of the temporary visas system, and arguing that Australia running a “de-facto low-skilled immigration policy” (also discussed here at the ABC).
I’ll say it again. The ghettoisation of Australian cities is the plan.