Thursday, March 02, 2017

ACTU – Dutton’s Changes to 457 Program Amount to Nothing

Dutton’s changes to 457 program barely a drop in the fryer for nation’s super sized youth unemployment problem

2 March 2017

Statement from Australian Council of Trade Union President Ged Kearney:

Minister Dutton’s attempts at reform of the 457 Visa program are welcome, however the changes announced this morning are entirely ineffectual in the face of the youth unemployment crisis which this country is facing.

  • There are currently 1.2 million workers with temporary visa working rights in the country. The idea that removing 500 foreign workers is going to fix the youth labour market is absurd.
  • Unions have been calling for significant reform to the temporary visa work for the entire four years of the Coalition Government, but this has fallen on deaf ears.
  • If the Government was serious it would make substantive changes to the list of occupations in the 457 program, rather than dog-whistling and fiddling around the margins.
  • The 651 occupations currently in the program include maritime workers, childcare workers, hairdressers, secondary school teachers, café managers and countless other jobs that could be filled by young local workers.
  • The Government needs to explain why we need to go overseas for police officers, judges and magistrates, and, with the 20,000 workers who have just lost their jobs through the closure of Toyota and Ford, why are we importing welders?
  • There are serious changes that could be made to the 457 system to improve job prospects for young people, the announcement today does not come close to reaching this mark.

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