We have a problem with foreign worker visas. The government may have scrapped the 457 visa programme, but the replacement isn’t much different. The Government used smoke and mirrors to try to fool you into thinking they completely fixed the problem. For example, stricter English language tests are just dog whistling and will have no real effect. What we need is a real solution to the 457 visa problem which allows employers to bypass qualified Australian workers.
Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton also failed to make any significant and useful changes to the list of accepted professions – he simply removed several professions from a list of 200. Labor has a plan to establish an Australian Skills Authority – an independent body focused on determining what skills are currently needed and when to open Australia’s doors and to who.
Another facet of the debate is training and education. If the government was serious about getting Australian workers into these jobs, it wouldn’t have cut more than $600 million from TAFE and vocational education. Not to mention a lack of support for apprenticeships. Training and education is the way to go when it comes to keeping Australians employed, not trying to fool the public into thinking they fixed this glaring issue facing our nation’s workforce.
Labor has committed to reversing the $600 million in cuts and more. If we come to power next election we’ll spend $637.6 million on TAFE and vocational education, spend $100 million re-establishing regional TAFE centres, set an Australian apprentice requirement on Commonwealth priority projects, and a new program to re-skill workers whose jobs are made redundant, among other initiatives.