Shayne Neumann MP
Federal Member for Blair

Australian Labor
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AUSTRALIAN LABOR WILL PUT AUSTRALIAN JOBS FIRST

03/05/2017

A Shorten Labor Government will crack down on 457 visa rorts and build a skilled Australian workforce, reducing our reliance on overseas workers to fill skills shortages.  

With underemployment at record highs and young people across the country struggling to find work, too many employers are turning to temporary work visas to undercut local jobs, wages and conditions.

It’s time to change the system so locals get the first shot at local jobs. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed changes to 457 visas are little more than a con job that barely make a difference.

Under the Liberals, too many local workers are being left at the back of the queue for local jobs.

Labor will make sure employers have to look for local workers first – and we’ll make sure local workers have the skills to do the job.

Today’s new announcements build on Labor’s existing policies to crack down on work visa loopholes.

Labor will establish the Australian Skills Authority – an independent, labour market testing body. This new body will determine genuine skills needs and restrict temporary work visas to only those areas.

The Australian Skills Authority will create a single Skills Shortage Occupations List, advise government on current skills shortages and future skills needs, and ensure that temporary visas are only made available when a genuine skills gap cannot be met with local workers.

Labor will increase the cost of temporary visas to encourage employers to look local first. Under Mr Turnbull’s rebadged 457 visa arrangement, a two-year visa costs just $575 a year – that’s about $10 a week.

Labor will increase relevant fees to three per cent of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. For a four-year visa, that’s about $1600 a year – or about $6400 in total.

This is a strong price signal to employers that they should be looking for local workers first.

Under Labor, putting local workers first won’t just be fairer – it will be cheaper.

Labor will use this extra revenue to establish the SkillUP Training Fund. This new fund will help deliver the next Labor Government’s agenda in skills and training.

This will help reverse the Liberals’ damage to skills and training – which has resulted in $2.5 billion in funding cuts and 130,000 fewer apprenticeship places.

Labor will establish a new SMART Visa for world-leaders in Science, Medicine, Academia, Research and Technology to ensure universities, research institutes, medical, scientific and advanced technology industries and companies and public research agencies to bring the best and brightest here.

Labor will say no to labour loopholes in trade deals. The Liberals’ trade deals with China, Japan and South Korea include loopholes that waive local labour market testing.

Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Malcolm Turnbull wanted to waive labour market testing for workers from Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

A Shorten Labor Government will not do what the Liberals have done. Labor will not waive labour market testing in new free trade agreements. 

More information on Australian Labor’s plans for Australian jobs can be found here.