Skilled migrants should receive market pay rates: report

The report has also recommended faster processing of work visas to help employers meet skills needs more quickly.Federal Immigration and Citizenship minister Chris Evans today released the report, called the Visa Subclass 457 Integrity Review, and referred it to the Skilled Migration Consultative Panel, which is made up of representatives from business and industry groups, state governments and unions.The panel will provide feedback and advice to government on the report’s recommendations, which include:Abolish the minimum salary level in favour of market rates of pay for all temporary visa holders on salaries less than $100,000;
Develop an accreditation system or risk matrix to ensure rapid processing of low-risk visa applications so employers can meet skills needs quickly;
Develop new lists setting out the skilled occupations for which temporary work visas can be granted;
Limit visa holders to a stay of no longer than eight years in Australia (i.e. two four-year visas or four two-year visas) while providing a pathway to permanent residency for those who have the required language skills.
The report was put together by industrial relations expert Barbara Deegan, who was appointed in April to conduct a broad review into the integrity of the temporary skilled migration program (Subclass 457 visa). The program is an uncapped scheme driven by labour market demand, and enables employers to sponsor overseas workers to fill nominated skilled positions in Australia for up to four years. Evans said Deegan’s recommendations and the views of the Consultative Panel would inform the development of the government’s reforms to the temporary skilled migration program as part of the 2009 budget. “We are closely assessing the report and decisions to implement individual recommendations will be taken as part of the budget process,” Evans said. The minister also said that a recommendation to institute a levy from employers to fund the provision of services such as Medicare for Subclass 457 visa holders was contrary to government policy on access to these services by temporary visa holders. “The Rudd government believes it is important that temporary skilled overseas workers do not place an additional burden on Australia’s public health system,” Evans said. “The temporary skilled migration program plays a critical role in providing industry with skilled labour across a wide range of professions in areas where there are serious skills shortages,” Evans said. “While the number of workers coming to Australia under the scheme is likely to slow given the current economic conditions, there will continue to be demand for skills in some sectors,” he said.

Send this to a friend