Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:53

IT workers' lobby group welcomes move on 457 visas Featured

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A lobby group for Australian IT workers says that any moves by the federal government to improve the way that skilled labour is imported into the country is a positive.

Martin Hale, director of the IT Professionals Association, told iTWire: "We believe there were some serious anomalies in the IT industry under the existing 457 temporary visa system.

"We are happy that the government appears to have listened to what we and other industry professional organisations have been telling them about how the skilled worker visa system is being rorted at the expense of local workers."

But on the downside, he said, while the changes were a step in the right direction, the ITPA believed the new system would still be open to abuse.

"To help reduce the likelihood of future abuse of the system, there needs to be more transparency in the skilled visas being approved," he said.

He said the ITPA recommended that the immigration department publish the details of roles being advertised so they could be seen by Australian job-seekers and scrutinised by industry associations.

Last month, Hale had threatened to name and shame companies that he alleged were rorting the 457 visa system.

The government said on Tuesday that it would be getting rid of the 457 temporary work visa system and replacing it with a system that was stricter on the issue of visas. It also said that Australian workers should be put first.

Hale slammed the IT industry as being "one of the largest contributors to 457 visa growth and exploitation".

He said the details on what the government intended to do to make the skilled worker visa system more transparent and fair were still sketchy, "but we generally support this latest political rhetoric that says changes are required".

"We look forward to seeing the structure of a proposed replacement visa system and are more than willing to work with agencies to apply more scrutiny to existing practices and get better local employment outcomes in the IT industry," he added.

Hale said his association also supported any moves "to create more effective development pathways and industry work opportunities for local IT graduates so that they present as candidates with the type of skills and experiences that are in demand by the IT industry today and tomorrow".

"ITPA is undertaking ongoing investigations into 457 visa fraud and other issues occurring in the IT industry including a number of FOI requests and we will be releasing those findings when completed," he said.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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