AWU says government must reverse decision to divert jobs to short-term visa holders

The Australian Workers’ Union is calling on Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews to reverse a farcical decision that will allow bosses in the dairy, fishing, and meat industries to hire short-term migrants without even having to prove they tried to hire locals first.

Ms Andrews department has quietly made a decision to extend industry labour agreements to the dairy, fishing, meat and pork industries that will cut the need for formal qualifications, reduce work experience standards, and reduce or even eliminate English language requirements. It will also remove the requirement for standard labour market shortage testing.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton says Ms Andrews must intervene and reverse the decision.

“Regional Australia is crying out for local jobs in the wake of the pandemic, but the Morrison Government seems determined to fill every regional vacancy with short-term migrants,” Mr Walton.

“There is a valid role for short-term visas in the case of genuine skills shortages. But how can the government say there’s a skills shortage when they don’t want to make employers even test the local market.

“The priority should be on training Australians to perform these roles, not paying migrant workers below the industry standard. This will drive down wages and conditions at precisely the time our economy needs them to grow. How can workers in agriculture and primary produce keep up with cost of living when their government does stupid things like this?

“The federal government can’t claim they back Australian jobs when they’re bending over backward to allow employers to rely on short-term visa holders.

“There would be thousands upon thousands of Australians who would love to score a job in the dairy industry or the meat industry or the fishing industry. But they will be effectively locked out of jobs in their own communities by this government’s enthusiasm for doing whatever employers tell them.”.

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