“The changes to 457 visa arrangements announced by the federal government today are a classic regulatory overreach that risks damaging the competitiveness and viability of important projects and businesses,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Less than a month after the Department of Immigration reported that the 457 visa program was responding well to economic needs and demand was declining in recent months the minister has claimed the program was being abused by some employers at the expense of local jobs,” Ms Westacott said.
“If there are individual employers not complying with the legislation the government should deal with those employers directly rather than introduce ad hoc changes to the rules that only undermine business confidence and create disincentives for future investment.
“Where is the evidence of widespread and systematic abuse of the system that warrants new red tape being imposed on all businesses – businesses that are investing in Australia’s economy, but needing short-term migration to help them do that by filling temporary skills shortages?
“We need a competitive and resilient economy afforded by businesses that have the confidence to invest. Continually increasing red tape and moving the goalposts does nothing to restore shaky business confidence in Australia.
“As the minister himself confirms, 457 visas are important for giving business confidence to make long-term investments knowing that genuine skills shortages in Australia can be overcome with temporary skilled migrants.
“It is totally counterproductive for long-term confidence and investment certainty for there to be constant tinkering with a system that the minister’s own department says is performing well.
“What should be remembered is temporary skilled migrants make a valuable contribution to Australia’s economy and to our diverse society as active participants.
“We acknowledge the importance of the integrity of the scheme for its longevity and that enforcement is a necessary part of that.
“Nevertheless, unwarranted red tape and restrictions on the scheme only serve to work against business investment and economic growth and shouldn’t be a recourse to pacifying those who are against temporary migration,” she said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128