March 24, 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Party now acknowledge that migration is crucial to economic growth and prosperity.

AFTER TELLING temporary entrants to “return to their home country” at the beginning of Covid19 pandame, just 12 months ago and cutting the Migration Program ceiling by 30,000 per annum to “bust congestion” as part of his 2019 pre-election plan, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison now says we must overhaul temporary migration in the post-COVID era to fill rapidly emerging skill shortages.

Recently the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said that:

“Convinced that the migration program will be a huge part of how we recover from COVID.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says Australia has the “opportunity to attract some of the most skilled and highly qualified individuals from across the world”.


And with no reference to the Prime Minister telling temporary entrants to go home or cutting immigration to “bust congestion”, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, Julian Leeser, said:

“Australia needs to replace the skilled migrants that left our shores as a result of the pandemic. Without the return of skilled migration, Australia’s economic recovery will be severely hampered and it will be harder to create more jobs for Australians.”

Why Australia is changing its immigration policy? No one believes congestion has been “busted” by the recent lockdowns or that cutting the migration program by 30,000 per annum would have busted congestion. That was just Scott Morrison making up a rationale for Dutton’s earlier cut to the program, as well as a bit of convenient dog-whistling.

And if immigration is to now be increased, how will that be done? There is great potential for the Government to make a mess of this, especially if done at the same time as the Department of Home Affairs is implementing a major IT upgrade. 

There are likely five main drivers for why the Morrison Government is proposing to increase immigration:

  • Ongoing employer anger at the changes Peter Dutton made in 2017-18 to employer-sponsored migration;
  • Recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aged Care will require a very substantial increase in the number of qualified aged and health care staff to bring aged care delivery to the proposed standard and to meet the increasing demands of a much larger aged care population. This increase cannot possibly be delivered solely by training more Australians;
  • Pressure from the agricultural and international tourism industries to address their workforce and related challenges;
  • Pressure from universities due to the number of university staff who have lost their jobs following a sharp fall in revenue from overseas students and the Government’s decision to not grant universities access to JobKeeper; and
  • Likely advice from Treasury that further ageing of Australia’s population over the next 10-20 years will make high rates of real economic growth impossible to deliver.

Employer-sponsored migration

Employer-sponsored skilled temporary entry visas declined significantly after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and then made a remarkable recovery as the stimulus into the Australian economy rapidly reduced unemployment.

The rise in unemployment from 2014 again resulted in a fall in skilled temporary visas. That decline continued as changes to this visa introduced by Peter Dutton plus a slowing in visa processing saw a large decline in 2017-18. While there was a short recovery in 2018-19, that was due to backlog clearance rather than an increase in applications. The decline continued in 2019-20 and there is likely to be a further fall in 2020-21 due to COVID.

Source: data.gov.au.

While he will not say so, the recommendations of Julian Leeser’s Committee are designed to undo many of the changes Peter Dutton made in 2017-18. But is that the most sensible way forward?

I managed Australia’s migration and temporary entry arrangements for over a decade and can attest that employers seeking to fill a genuine skill shortage are mainly interested in speed, flexibility and certainty.

They don’t want to be messed about by the kinds of bureaucratic delays Peter Dutton specialised in when they need to fill a key vacancy.

From a public policy perspective, the key risks employer-sponsored skilled visa design must address are:

  • Employer-sponsored visas being used to undercut job opportunities of Australians, especially for entry-level job vacancies given high youth unemployment amongst Australians without post-school qualifications;
  • Use of employer-sponsored visas to suppress wages and exploit overseas workers; and
  • Sponsoring employers avoiding their obligations to train Australians.

In this context, it is extraordinary that Leeser ignores the most important policy lever available. That is the minimum salary that every sponsor of a skilled temporary entrant must pay. An appropriately set minimum salary, with minimal scope to use “in-kind” non-cash benefits, effective enforcement and severe penalties for non-compliance, is by far the most effective way to minimise the key risks of skilled temporary entry.

From the checks I have been able to make, it seems the minimum salary requirement for skilled temporary entry may not have been substantially increased since 2013. If that is correct, we can only conclude that skilled temporary entry has been part of the Government’s agenda, as explained by former Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, to slow wages growth in Australia.

If the Government wants to overhaul skilled temporary entry to deliver the speed and flexibility employers desire, it must strengthen the minimum salary requirement, with an appropriate concession for employers in regional Australia.

If not, it will risk, for example, the large corporate aged care providers in Australia using skilled temporary entry to undermine the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aged Care which wants to increase the qualifications and wages of aged care workers rather than to have them continue to be exploited.

To secure the large numbers of more qualified health and aged care workers that Australia will need, Australia will need to source many of these workers through the overseas students’ program. Attracting sufficiently qualified health and aged care workers directly from overseas will be difficult as countries in Europe, Japan and North America will be competing for the same workers.

In this regard, Leeser is right to propose more sensible pathways to permanent residence for overseas students and other temporary entrants. These are the same pathways Dutton made a mess of in 2017-18. For regional Australia, where the demand for qualified health and aged care workers will hit earlier and harder, the Government will also need to revisit the Regional Employer-Sponsored category that Morrison announced with his 2019 Population Plan.

Predictably, that category has turned out to be a total lemon.

Universities will need to switch the focus of their overseas student programs towards health and aged care, and away from the traditional focus on accounting and business. But at a time university finances are heavily stretched, that will be difficult.

The Government will need to assist universities to make the transition to health and aged care training for both domestic and overseas students.

Agriculture and international tourism industries

Both of these industries are pressing the Government for assistance with their labour needs.

Working holidaymakers and work and holiday visa holders have been a traditional source of labour used by these industries. But the number of these visa holders had been in steady decline well before COVID-19 hit, from a peak of around 180,000 in December 2013 to around 140,000 in December 2019, and less than 50,000 in December 2020 and continuing to fall fast.

This is despite a significant expansion in the number of countries with which Australia has a work and holiday agreement as well as expanded opportunities for these visa holders to secure further stay in Australia.

The decline prior to COVID is likely the result of extensive media and social media reports of exploitation of these visa holders, as well as the special “backpacker tax” that has been in place in recent years. Since COVID, with few arriving and large numbers leaving, it was inevitable their numbers would fall sharply.

Source: WHM ReportsDHA website.

The Seasonal Worker Programme has, to a small degree, offset the decline in working holidaymakers. However, this scheme has also been plagued by reports of exploitation and abuse, including an extraordinary 22 deaths of people while in Australia on this very small visa as well as serious complaints from some Pacific Island Governments.

Despite the risks of exploitation, the Government has steadily reduced regulations around this visa and shifted the cost burden from employers and labour-hire companies to workers. The farm lobby wants further deregulation and the creation of a U.S.-style agricultural visa, which has often been described as a new form of slavery.

source: independentaustralia.net

January 8, 2015

skilledmigrants

Visa applicants are concentrated in mining, manufacturing, construction and education. 

Companies would be allowed to bring employees to Australia for up to a year without applying for 457 skilled worker visas under a migration-rule revamp being considered by the government.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is proposing a new temporary entry visa for foreign workers that would not require the candidates to pass language or skills requirements. Nor would employers have to prove they cannot find an Australian to fill the position.
The proposed “short-term mobility” subclass of visas would be available for “specialised work which may include intra-company transfers and foreign correspondents”, says a proposal paper obtained byThe Australian Financial Review.
Fly-in, fly-out commuters, global partners or specialists who need to ­provide short periods of work or consultation to a company would be ­covered. The visa would allow for multiple entries.
The paper is part of a review announced in October and billed by the Abbott government as the biggest re-examination of skilled migration in 25 years. The government wants to cut red tape and give companies more flexibility to grow and compete for talent. ­But the changes would upset unions, which are mostly hostile to foreign labour.
Skilled migration researcher Bob Birrell said the government would be picking a big fight with white-collar unions and professional groups by allowing global companies greater scope to bring people in for short-term appointments.
“There are already significant problems with graduate employment in professions such as dentistry, computer science, medicine and engineering,” he said.
“Liberalisation such that being mooted is going to crash head-on with that situation. The government is going to have some angry professional associations on its hands.”
A short-term mobility category would replace the existing category 400 visa, which allows skilled or specialist entrants to work for up to six weeks.
There were 4587 visas of this type granted when it was first offered in 2012-13. That jumped to 32,984 in 2013-14. Applicants are concentrated in mining, manufacturing, construction and education.
Employer groups have been pushing for a less onerous visa than the 457 to allow them to bring in specialists for shorter-term projects. They say the six weeks offered under the 400 visa is too short and the department often re­directs applicants to 457 visas.
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said with unemployment at a 12-year-high of 6.3 per cent, the focus should be on employing and training locals.
“The review of Australia’s skilled migration system must strengthen requirements for employers to advertise jobs locally before recruiting ­workers from overseas, not make it easier for companies to bypass Australian workers, university graduates and apprentices,” she said.
Mark Glazbrook, the managing director of Adelaide-based Migration Solutions, said the extended mobility visa would be eagerly welcomed. “The current policy settings and regulations are quite strict and don’t allow a lot of flexibility where there’s very specialised or unique work to be done,” he said.
“If you consider a big international- based company with Australian operations, if they have a specialised piece of equipment that’s in Australia and no one knows how to install it, they want to be able to bring someone, possibly on multiple occasions, on a genuinely temporary basis.”
The existing employer-sponsored 457 visa would be absorbed into a new “temporary-skilled” category, according to the proposal paper. It would continue to require candidates to meet English language, skills and labour market tests.
There would also be “permanent-independent” and “permanent-skilled” subclasses.
The “permanent-independent” subclass would be for “highly skilled individuals to independently apply for permanent residence to work in Australia”. It would replace existing distinguished talent visas.
Applicants in the permanent-skilled category would have to prove they are filling a genuine vacancy in the local labour market. This category would subsume the existing 186 and 187 visas.
“Competition for migrants amongst growth countries such as China and India, as well as our traditional competitors, will require that our skilled programs are no longer designed to passively receive migrants, but are designed to aggressively target ‘talented’ migrants in a highly competitive environment,” the paper says.
Australian Mines and Metals Association director Scott Barklamb said Australia would benefit from “mobile, highly skilled professionals who temporarily live and work where their specialised skills are most in need”. “Australians working in the resource sector often have opportunities to work and live temporarily all over the world and the Australian industry must similarly benefit from global engagement.”
In a submission to the government, Master Builders Australia said: “Some projects are shorter duration – for example three months – and going through the time-consuming and costly process of applying and securing 457 visa holders is not flexible enough.”
The “genuine-temporary-entrant” test that has been applied to student visas would be used for the short-term mobility subclass to prevent rorting.
The short-term mobility subclass would include a visa valid for three months or a year. Candidates for the shorter visa could be bought in at the invitation of an Australian company.
For the visa to be valid for up to 12 months, candidates would require a “statement of guarantee or undertaking from the Australian organisation detailing salary and any employment conditions reflective of the Australian standard for the duration of the stay must be provided”.
There is also a review of the integrity of the 457 visa system, the significant investor visa program and an inquiry into the Business Innovation and Investment Program.
The government said it would be premature to comment during the consultation period. A spokesman said the proposal paper was drafted by the department, not the government.
Dr Birrell said: “The main proposal is to free up temporary migration by creating a new set of visa subclasses for people coming in for less than a year,” he said.
“The implication is that this would not include the rules and regulations currently governing the 457 visa, including some labour market testing.”

SOURCE: The Australian Financial Review
By Joanna Mather
November 24, 2013

485-Visa-Granted-2014The Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa offers a great opportunity for recently graduated international students to gain valuable work experience after completing their studies. This work experience helps develop the skills graduates gained during their studies and also makes them more employable upon return to their home country.
It is important to note that applicants need to meet a number of eligibility requirements to be granted the temporary graduate visa. And if the visa is granted, temporary graduate visa holders are responsible for finding their own employment.
Applying for this visa
485-Visa-StatisticsMany international students make a decision to apply for the temporary graduate visa upon completion of their studies. Graduates can apply for this visa up to six months after completion of their studies.
There is no guarantee that, on the basis of having previously held a student visa, the applicant will meet the requirements to be granted a temporary graduate visa.
Any decision to apply for a temporary graduate visa is an entirely separate process to a student visa application. Depending on their individual circumstances, applicants may be eligible to apply for a temporary graduate visa through either the graduate work stream or the post-study work stream.
For information on the eligibility requirements for the temporary graduate visa, check out the Who Can Apply tab on the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa webpage.
Finding a job
The temporary graduate visa allows recent graduates to spend time in Australia to gain practical work experience to accompany their Australian qualification(s). There are no restrictions on the type of employment that the temporary graduate visa holder may choose to undertake.
It is important to note that finding a job is the responsibility of the temporary graduate visa holder. The Australian government is not responsible for arranging employment—there are many organisations which offer assistance in job seeking, including through the Australian Government’s JobSearch website.
For further information on latest labour market test (LMT) information on selected 457 visa occupations please contact www.visaagency-australia.com or write to [email protected]
If you are interested in Australian visas, contact International Education Agency – Australia (IEAA)  for information and advice on which visa is best suited to you. You can also try our migration services to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa to Australia.

November 7, 2013

Education Minister Christopher Pyne: “We need new architecture in international education.” Picture: Ray Strange. Source: The Australian
EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne has promised to open the jobs market to more overseas students who have graduated from Australian universities, as a means of rehabilitating the stagnant $14 billion international education industry.
In his first speech on the industry since he was sworn in as minister, Mr Pyne said yesterday the Abbott government would move quickly to extend the streamlined visa process beyond universities to training colleges, and maximise career opportunities in Australia for the best foreign graduates of our universities.
Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said he was troubled by any policy changes that used migration or easier labour market access as a lure to sell education, especially if it encouraged a repeat of last decade’s boom in low-quality diplomas pitched at foreign students seeking permanent residency.
“We know from past experience there are literally hundreds of operators who are skilled in packaging courses that provide the cheapest possible entry,” Dr Birrell said.
Under the Howard government, which linked gaining an Australian tertiary qualification with permanent residency, thousands of students swarmed into low-level vocational diplomas and dozens of dodgy private colleges exploited the lax policy.
Mr Pyne acknowledged past abuses and said preventing any repeat would be “very much part of our planning, to get that right”.
“But Labor used a sledgehammer to break a walnut (following the excesses of the education-migration boom) and we don’t want to repeat that error. But we also don’t want to go back to a situation where people lose faith in the quality of education in Australia.”
Mr Pyne told the Australian International Education Conference in Canberra he would work with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to maximise the international student market while maintaining visa integrity and educational quality.
Universities Australia welcomed Mr Pyne’s speech as showing the government’s intention “to turbo-charge international education policy against a backdrop of declining enrolments and export revenue”.
A report from accountancy firm Deloitte yesterday identified education exports as one of five “super-growth” sectors offering prosperity as the mining investment boom recedes.
At yesterday’s conference, attended by several hundred education delegates from around the world, Mr Pyne said Labor had presided over a decline in education exports from $18.6bn in 2009 to a little more than $14bn last year – “quite an achievement in a growing economy”.
He cited forecasts that the Asia-Pacific middle class would rise from 500 million to 3.2 billion by 2030, and that the number of young people in the world looking to study abroad would double to more than seven million by 2020.
The National Tertiary Education Union said last night it feared Mr Pyne’s proposal was part of a broader government strategy to avoid increasing taxpayer funding to universities.
Jeannie Rea, the union’s national president, said the government was seeking to increase international student fee revenue to universities rather than plug the direct funding gap faced by universities. “It becomes a cross subsidisation,” Ms Rea said.
 
Source: THE AUSTRALIAN , BERNARD LANE , OCTOBER 10, 2013 
 

September 8, 2011

resume mistakesGiven that 45 percent of human resources managers say they spend less than a minute, on average, on each job application they see, it’s understandable that some people might go overboard in trying to bring some individuality to their work history. But would you list your unique ability to do the moonwalk in the “special skills” section of your resume?
That’s actually not the wackiest resume mistake CareerBuilder uncovered in a survey of 2,600 employers nationwide, who were asked to recall the most unusual resumes they’d ever seen. It seems safe to assume none of these people were hired, but since CareerBuilder didn’t specifically ask, I guess there’s an outside shot that one of these tactics actually worked. (Although probably not the one about being arrested for assaulting a former boss.)
Here are the 15 oddest:

  1. Candidate said the more he was paid, the harder he worked
  2. Candidate said he had been fired from past positions, but still included those managers as references
  3. Candidate said getting an interview was important because he wanted an opportunity to show off his new tie
  4. Candidate listed her dog as a reference
  5. Candidate listed-yes, the moonwalk-as a special skill
  6. A husband and wife team looking to job share submitted a poem they had co-written
  7. Candidate listed ‘versatile toes’ as a selling point
  8. Candidate wrote that he would be “a good asset to the company” but somehow omitted the last two letters in “asset.”
  9. Candidate’s email address contained the phrase “shakinmybootie”
  10. Candidate mentioned that he had survived a bite from a deadly aquatic animal
  11. Candidate used first name only
  12. Candidate asked, “Would you pass up the opportunity to hire someone like this? I think not.”
  13. Candidate insisted that he be paid for the time he spent interviewing with the company
  14. Candidate shipped a lemon with resume, stating, “I am not a lemon.”
  15. Candidate included on his resume the fact that he had been arrested for assaulting his previous boss.

Lessons Learned
Can’t you be even a little imaginative in putting together your resume? No, says CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources, Rosemary Haefner. “Creativity and personal touches may seem tempting to some job seekers, but many times, it’s a disqualifying distraction.”
Instead, Haefner suggests job seekers stick with the basics:

  • Stay relevant. Customize your resume to each individual position, highlighting the experience that makes you best-suited to that particular post.
  • Stay readable. If there’s no white space on your resume, reformat it to make it easier on the eyes. A wall of unbroken gray text is off-putting–especially if it’s the fiftieth resume someone’s seen that day.
  • Write a compelling professional summary. Ditch the ‘Objective’ line in favor of a two-sentence description of your relevant experience. This is the ‘hook’ that can convince a recruiter, HR pro, or hiring manager to spend a little more time on your application.
  • Proofread. It’s too easy for hiring managers to disqualify you based on a typo-if you don’t care about making sure your resume is perfect, what does that say about your level of conscientiousness? Proofread it yourself, and before sending it out, ask a few friends to proofread your resume for you.

What are your best tips for getting the attention of hiring managers? And which attention-getting ploys are sure to fail?
Source: Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul

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