Tourism

Coalition calls for fast track of foreign workers—ahead of Aussies stranded overseas

Members of the federal opposition have condemned a report that calls for the government to fast track allowing skilled migrants into the country instead of prioritising bringing stranded Aussies home.

According to the Nine papers, the report was put together by the joint committee on migration, with the report urging the Morrison government to weaken rules that require companies to employ Australians before seeking workers from overseas to fill a position.

Liberal MP Julian Leeser, the committee’s chair, said Australia had seen a massive fall in the number of skilled workers. This has left businesses “crying out” for specific skills that would then create other jobs for Australians, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

However, the report was rejected by the Australian Labor Party and Greens members, with Labor arguing that the recommendations were “outrageous, ill-conceived and appallingly timed”.

These changes include abandoning the at least 37,000 Australians still overseas and make it harder for local workers to get jobs even as the government is preparing to withdraw JobKeeper, Labor members wrote.

“Shame on them for selling out Australian workers and those looking for a job,” they said.

Julian Hill, the Labor member for the highly multicultural electorate of Bruce in Melbourne, said he was a strong advocate for migration but argued the report’s timing was woeful, The Herald reported.

According to The Herald, chefs, veterinarians, cafe and restaurant managers and seafarers would be added to a list of priority occupations for visas under the report’s recommendations.

Among the committee’s reported recommendations is for the government to “reserve places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants”.

The recommendations also call for a relaxation of rules forcing businesses to advertise jobs in Australia before going abroad, in a process called “labour market testing”.

Small businesses would be exempt altogether, The Herald reported.


Image: iStock/Fly View Productions

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