Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Media release

Putting Australian workers first

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman says Australian job seekers are continuing to benefit from visa reforms tightening the eligibility for employers hiring offshore.

“More than one million new jobs have been created since the Coalition was elected five years ago and our reforms to close loopholes in the visa system have played an important part.

“Just as Labor lost control of our borders to people smugglers, it sold out Australian workers by allowing 457 visas to be abused.

“Almost 130,000 overseas workers were granted entry in Labor’s last year in government, with no checks or requirements in place to ensure employers were addressing critical skill shortages or making any effort to find local workers first.”

“The Coalition tightened up the 457 process before abolishing it altogether, with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa introduced earlier this year.

“In 2017, around 70,000 overseas workers were granted visas, almost half as many as under Labor. Importantly, under the new TSS visa system, employers can only source workers from overseas if they can properly demonstrate that they’ve taken every step to hire Australians first.

“Now eligible occupations are reviewed regularly to respond to changes in the labour market. Labor’s list of 651 eligible occupations has been drastically reduced, eliminating all manner of obscure occupations such as potters, goat herders and cattery workers.

“All visa applicants are required to undergo mandatory criminal checks. Employers are also subject to compliance checks and can be banned from hiring offshore if they break the rules.

“Under the new system, there’s tightened English language skills and minimum salary requirements, ensuring skilled work visa holders are less vulnerable to exploitation.

“Employers nominating under the TSS program pay a fee of at least $1200 to the Skilling Australia Fund, which goes towards improving training for all Australians.

“This wasn’t the case under Labor. Only the Coalition Government can be trusted to maintain integrity in our immigration system and put Australian workers first,” Minister Coleman said.