89% of Australians believe mining companies should search for Aussie workers before using 457 visas

WA Feb rally bannerThe Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union today released new research that shows Australians support the Federal Government’s changes to the 457 visa scheme.

The survey is part of the union’s ongoing Let’s spread it around campaign, aimed at ensuring government policies support job creation and retention throughout and beyond the mining boom.

CFMEU National Assistant Secretary and head of the Construction Division Dave Noonan said that the public were keen for the 457 visa system to be tightened up and properly policed.

“The Prime Minister has today delivered a speech reaffirming the Government’s commitment to making sure the 457 visa system works more effectively – but we need legislation to ensure the rorting ends once and for all.

“The Australian public strongly agree that testing the local market first, and proving that employers have looked closely at local candidates for the work – is the first step before importing guest workers from overseas.

“We need legislation that forces employers to be honest and accountable to skilled Australians who are looking for work. If there is a genuine shortage proven, then and only then, can employers take this route; as a safeguard against systemic abuse of these vulnerable guest workers. 

“The CFMEU welcomes the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of the evidence of the failures of the 457 visa system. 457 visas have shot up 20% over the last year while employment has only grown by 1 per cent.

“The CFMEU will not stop campaigning for a more equitable and balanced 457 visa system until both sides of politics commit to the need for appropriate legislation and regulation.

“The 457 visa system is not working in its current form. We need to legislate and regulate further to ensure it is working effectively,” said Mr Noonan.

National polling of 1047 people conducted between 8 March 2013 and 13 March 2013

Summary of findings:

77% of Australians agree/strongly agree with the Government’s changes to the 457 visa system that include:

-          Requirement for employers to demonstrate a genuine shortage before nominating positions

-          Raising the English language requirements for certain positions

-          Stronger compliance and enforcement powers to stop employers who routinely abuse the 457 system

89 per cent of Australians agree/strongly agree that mining companies should have to prove they have thoroughly searched for Australian workers, as well as providing training if necessary, before they are permitted to import guest workers from overseas.

“This backs up polling the CFMEU did last November showing very strong support for tripartite oversight of temporary foreign labour programs, consisting of regulators, business and unions,” said Mr Noonan.