The Electrical Trades Union has slammed a Federal Government report it says will destroy Australian jobs by using COVID-19 as a cover to open the floodgates on skilled migration.
The Federal Government's Joint Standing Committee on Migration's interim report wants skilled migration made easier, faster, with fewer safeguards, and even queue-jumping special flights.
Allen Hicks, ETU National Secretary, said: “While thousands of Australians are still stranded overseas, the Morrison Government is considering putting them at the end of the queue behind foreign workers who can be easily exploited.
“This is an attack on Australian values. It is a disgrace."
The report notes the pandemic “is an opportunity we will never get again … The recommendations in this report are aimed at ensuring we can take advantage of that opportunity.”
The committee's recommendations include:
* Skilled migrants be given reserved places on flights and in quarantine.
* Skilled migrants be given faster visa processing times.
* The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List be expanded to take in more job categories.
* Labour-market testing to be eased when considering the need for foreign workers.
* Only medium and large businesses required to conduct labour-market testing.
* Cut need for employers to advertise locally for occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation or critical skills lists.
* Excuse employers from paying the Skilling Australia Fund.
* Let sponsored skilled visa holders work for multiple employers using just one visa.
“Migrant workers are already paid far less than Australians, often have their wages stolen, and aren't paid superannuation,” Mr Hicks said. “They don't get overtime or casual loadings, and are often treated disgracefully by employers.”
He said the ETU regularly dealt with foreign workers subjected to underpayment, excessive work hours, bullying, breaches of employer obligations, debt bondage and general worker exploitation.
“After destroying TAFE the Government now wants to plug the skills gap by importing thousands of people who can’t enforce their labour rights and are easily exploited."
“Scott Morrison needs to intervene now to stop this looming fiasco. These recommendations would lead to an explosion in wage theft.”