THE nation’s resource industry employers are today calling for key changes to the 457 temporary skilled migration visa system in a submission to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
Geoff Bull, Director of Workplace Policy for resource industry employer group, AMMA, said temporary skilled migration 457 visas play an important role in attracting people with the skills the resource industry urgently requires.
“Despite employers’ best efforts which include training new job entrants and promoting careers in the resource industry, the labour shortage remains an ongoing problem for the resource industry,” Mr Bull said.
The changes, if adopted, could result in the simpler and more effective operation of the 457 visa system whilst preserving the integrity and objectives of the scheme, including how Australian labour is given precedence over the use of overseas labour.
A recent survey of AMMA members resulted in resource employers positively acknowledging recent changes introduced by the Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) but also calling for further improvements with respect to greater transparency and communication about the progress of applications so employers are always kept informed.
“AMMA believes the needs of the resource industry would be further assisted by additional streamlining of the 457 visa process including faster processing times with a maximum turnaround time of four weeks for “decision ready” applications,” Mr Bull said.
In its submission to the DIAC review of the 457 temporary migration visa scheme, AMMA has also called for:
- Flexibility for employers engaged in urgent projects with short-lead times so they can access visas more quickly and effectively, with an alternative working visa to be made available for projects lasting less than six months;
- The fast-tracking of professional or degree-qualified applicants in acknowledgement of the extremely low likelihood their applications will be fraudulent or will result in workers being exploited;
- Aligning the market pay rates threshold, above which 457 visa holders are not required to be paid market rates, with the unfair dismissal threshold under the Fair Work Act. This would reduce the high- income threshold under the 457 visa scheme from $180,000 a year to $113,800.
- Consistent advice from DIAC so employers know exactly what to submit with each visa application;
- Greater flexibility to cope with a change of employer sponsor, with new employers able to nominate
- a start date on which new work will commence;
- Streamlining of the visa renewal process so employers do not have to re-submit the entire visa application when they are simply seeking to renew or extend a visa period.
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