Meatworks in talks with Immigration over 457 visa controversy
The Queensland Business Review (Australia)
September 23, 2008
Bureaucrats from the Department of Immigration are meeting with the owners of Dinmore abbatoir Swift Australia to overcome mounting concerns over the use of overseas labour.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, says concerns have been raised that local workers have been denied shifts at the meatworks.
He says the Government will not tolerate employers continuing to access foreign workers on temporary skilled migration (subclass 457) visas while denying local workers job opportunities.
'We want to send a clear message to employers that the temporary skilled migration scheme is not to be used to employ foreign workers over local people,' Senator Evans says.
'The subclass 457 visa scheme is a skilled migration program designed to assist employers to meet skills shortages when local workers cannot be sourced.
'If an employer has local skilled people willing to work more shifts then clearly, they do not have a shortage of skills.'
The meat industry is one of the few sectors to have a labour agreement aimed at fast-tracking fireign workers on 457 visas.
However as part of the agreement, companies must prove that have exhausted all domestic employment avenues.
Comment is being sought from Swift.