457 Visa Bill Ignores Proper Process and Should Be Rejected

“The federal government’s Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 is mired in misinformation, damaging rhetoric and poor process and should be rejected”, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“The government is proposing a return to labour market testing, which was abandoned long ago as costly and ineffective, without any evidence to show why the current system is not working as intended to fill skills needs when local labour is not available.
“The government is again treating good regulation process with disdain by exempting the labour market testing requirements from the regulation impact assessment processes it has committed to,” Ms Westacott said.
“The exemption for labour market testing in the Bill cites ‘exceptional circumstances’, but it is unclear what these circumstances are given the Minister’s department has provided no evidence of a systemic problem with the scheme.
“There is no excuse to rush through legislation which risks undermining the capacity to fill identified skills gaps in a timely way without a proper assessment of whether there is a genuine problem and an analysis of the costs and benefits of solving any problem with regulation.
“While integrity of the scheme is important, costly labour market testing would not have avoided the issues identified in today’s media which should be dealt with through enforcement.
“The government’s claims of excessive growth in the number of temporary skilled migrants is at odds with the official data showing only 1.7 per cent more new visas granted than a year ago.
“The government’s continued rhetoric about a rising number of abuses is not supported by available evidence, and brings the vast majority of employers who are doing the right thing into disrepute.
“It makes no sense to accuse employers of trying to use the temporary skilled migration scheme to avoid hiring Australians because it is cheaper and faster to hire local labour if it is available.
“The Bill tabled today should not be exempt from proper regulation making processes, risks undermining the effectiveness of the scheme in ensuring businesses can function properly, and it should be rejected.
“This Bill and the unhelpful debate surrounding it is another blow to business certainty. Australia cannot afford to keep subjecting major investment decisions to poorly conceived and ad hoc policy decisions,” Ms Westacott said.

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128