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Visa Changes Just Nationalist Chest Beating

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
21 April 2017

Greens employment spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that with 3 out of 4 working visa holders using visa categories other than s457, extending Malcolm Turnbull’s announced ‘protections’ across the board would require large-scale reform, including the renegotiation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which provides for blanket exemptions from local advertising of jobs.

Without broader reform, the changes amount to little more than nationalist chest-beating, as employers will be able to circumvent the requirements by using other visa classes, said Mr Bandt.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s 457 visa changes are high on Trumpian bile but low on actual impact,” said Mr Bandt.

“Even if Malcolm Turnbull rebadges s457 visas with new requirements, employers can just circumvent them by picking a different visa instead.

“Free trade agreements such as ChAFTA allow unlimited numbers of workers like electricians to be brought in without labour market testing or proper skills checking.

“If Malcolm Turnbull wants the local advertising requirements to have any teeth, he’ll have to renegotiate free-trade deals like ChAFTA.

“Only about 1 in 4 working visa holders is on a s457 visa, but exploitation is rife in many other visa classes, like the 400 and 408 visas.

“Without applying these new changes apply to all visas across the board, including by renegotiating ChAFTA, this is just nationalistic chest-beating to appease Pauline Hanson.”

The 2016 Senate Inquiry ‘A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders’ found that in 2015, approximately three quarters of a million temporary visa holders were in Australia with work rights (excluding New Zealanders), but only 193,158 were s457 visa holders.

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
21 April 2017
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