Australian business leaders and industry groups have weighed in on the 457 skilled visa debate, releasing their picks for jobs which should be added to the list of occupations exempt from the banned 457 visa list.
The groups met at the request of the Federal Government after the Department of Immigration told the sectors on 18 April to come up with their picks, putting them in two categories, short and medium term priorities.
In a statement, Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, said that under the new scheme, short-term skilled worker visas will be issued for two years, while medium-term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years.
“Both streams will include mandatory labour market testing with limited exemptions; a new non-discriminatory workforce test; mandatory criminal history checks; a market salary rate assessment and a new two-year work experience requirement,” he added.
“Additionally there will be tightened English language requirements for the Medium Term Stream.
“The new visa will also include a strengthened training obligation for employers sponsoring foreign skilled workers to provide enhanced training outcomes for Australians in high-need industries and occupations,” he said.
The government released a list of 200 occupations which would be cut from the tally of jobs included in the new scheme. The IT sector jobs included in the list were ICT support and test engineers, ICT support technicians, web developers, telecommunications cable jointers and telecommunications technicians.
Now the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Australian Mining and Minerals Association (AMMA) have both released lists of the jobs they wish to be added to the exemption list.
The retail sector wants CEOs, marketing specialists, retail buyers, merchandise planners and Web developers to be exempt from the new laws.
"Our member survey shows that these are new or emerging skills or are only internationally available," executive director of the Australian Retailers Association Russell Zimmerman said.
"In almost every case retailers have advertised locally but close to 80 per cent were unable to find a local to fill these positions and on average the positions took 3 to six months to fill,.”
Meanwhile the AMMA has also produced its wish list of professions to be exempt including drillers, gas operators, petroleum engineers, aircraft and helicopter pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, flying instructors, ship engineers, masters and officers.
The mining sector has slammed the move saying it will not address the real issue of creating jobs.
“Clearly, any groups characterising the 457 Visa program as detracting from Australian job opportunities have been misinformed at best, and acting mischievously at worse,” AMMA acting CEO, Tara Diamond said in a statement.
“If today’s announcement is at all effective at silencing the cheap politics and scaremongering that has taken place around temporary skilled migration in recent years, AMMA would welcome that outcome.”
All industry sectors are working on responses to the question of why Australians can not do these jobs and with up to 200 occupations in question, time is getting tight.
Thus far web developers in retail are the only tech related jobs to be mentioned but more are expected as different industries - including ICT - weigh in.