Ever since the Turnbull Government supposedly tightened 457 temporary ‘skilled’ visas last year, we’ve seen it quietly loosen the immigration spigots in other areas. Yesterday, we witnessed another example, with the Coalition allowing special visas to regions with so-called skill shortages. From SBS News [my emphasis]:
Australian regions with niche skills shortages are being earmarked for “boutique” visa deals offered by the Turnbull government, SBS News can reveal.
There are already 322 special labour agreements in place with certain businesses and industries across the country, but the Minister for Citizenship Alan Tudge has said he wants to go further and do deals based on geographical location…
Boutique arrangements are granted at the government’s discretion when there are vacancies for niche positions that cannot be filled locally and when that particular job does not fall within the Skills Shortage List of more than 600 occupations eligible for skilled visa categories.
Companies must demonstrate they are unable to find local workers by advertising nationally first.
In the majority of cases, visa holders are given a pathway to permanent residency…
Melbourne aged care centre Fronditha Care is one of dozens of businesses which has been granted boutique visa deals to boost staff numbers.
The centre has employed 22 Greek aged care workers so far and has been granted an extra 60 special visas – known as the TSS (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa – to hire more bilingual staff.
I didn’t realise that Melbourne is now part of regional Australia. It also has one of the biggest Greek diaspora populations in the world, so surely finding a few bilingual staff shouldn’t be a problem.
Moreover, what a beautifully circular system we have created here: bring in non-English speaking (NES) migrants and then bring in bilingual migrants to service said NES migrants.
Like virtually every other ‘skilled’ visa program, this one is bound to be rorted, as we’ve witnessed with Australia’s provisional regional skilled visa (489) and skilled permanent nominated (190) visa (see here).
Recall ABC Radio‘s report in March, which highlighted the absurdity of Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program. This report profiled a permanent skilled migrant family from Bangladesh who has not been able to gain work in South Australia despite leaving their homeland to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’ under the regional skilled visa scheme:
According to this ABC Radio report, this type of scenario is commonplace, resulting in migrant groups demanding that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field!
But hey, big business rent-seekers like billionaire Gerry Harvey will be happy. Harvey did, after all, demand a two-tier wage system to allow employers to pay foreign guest workers less than locals:
[Harvey] called on the Federal Government to allow foreign workers on fixed visas to form a second tier to the labour market.
“Australia doesn’t have cheap labour. Many overseas workers would be prepared to move here for a much better life and half the money Australians earn,” he said…
“I’ve got horse studs and it’s difficult to get staff…
Mr Harvey said both major parties needed to open the gates to migrants.
Clearly, growth lobby representatives like Gerry Harvey continue to pull the Government’s strings. At the expense of ordinary workers.