Fergie unveils latest plan to solve skills crisis

By admin

The federal government has unveiled a template labour agreement to address worsening skills shortages in the tourism and hospitality sectors by attracting skilled workers from overseas.
Using the template, approved employers will be able to nominate workers for temporary skilled 457 visas.
It is the result of discussions with industry members at the Tourism Employment Roundtable hosted by minister for tourism Martin Ferguson in August 2011.
The industry is being invited to comment on the list of eligible businesses, salary, skill levels and English language requirements. A discussion paper is open for comment until March 16 and can be found at www.tourism.gov.au/labour.
Immigration minister Chris Bowen said: “This template seeks a balance between upholding the standards of the visa system while giving employers easier access to workers whole skills are hard to find in Australia.”
It will cover hotel staff, waiters, chefs, bar attendants and other roles in the tourism and hospitality sector. But Bowen warned that employees will need to show they are “doing their best to employ and train domestic workers and paying market rates”.
Ferguson described the job situation as “critical”, with the tourism and hospitality sectors expected to require a further 56,000 workers by 2015 on top of the 36,000 already needed.
“Tourism injects around $35 billion a year into the Australian economy and the government is acting to ensure labour and skills issues impacting on the tourism industry’s competitiveness are addressed under the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy, Tourism 2020,” he said.
Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said the paper was a “welcome initiative” and urged tourism businesses to offer their feedback.
“Having a template will reduce their administrative burden by streamlining the application process, so we would encourage businesses to take this opportunity to have their say on how the template should look, which businesses are eligible, as well as included occupations, salary, skill levels and English competency,” he said.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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