A possie in Aussie

February 21, 2009

Professor Birrell, please be careful

Filed under: 457 visas,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 8:22 am
Tags: , ,

A professor who is well-known in the field of migration research yesterday said of the 457 visa program:

“People at the lower end of the spectrum are becoming permanent residents. They’re vulnerable to exploitation because the employer knows they’re not going to quibble with what he’s offering them because they’re desperate to get the permanent resident nomination.” 457 visas ‘may cost local-born their jobs’

Professor Birrell is quite correct that many 457 visa holders are ‘desperate’ for Permanent Residency (see my post ‘Permanency, the best address’)

I agree that the situation of sponsored temporary migrants makes them beholden to their sponsoring employer, and so vulnerable to the unscrupulous, but Birrell’s statement carries the implication that they will continue to be vulnerable to exploitation even after they achieve PR – in effect demonising migrants per se.

In addition, Birrell asserts that holders of 457 visas are subject to less stringent language requirements. Less stringent than what? Workers on 457 visas must pass an English competency test of IELTS level 4.5 or above.

Is Professor Birrell using outdates information from the time when the Howard government did allow some workers in without English competency?

Prof Birrell is also quoted as saying that “there is no labour market testing, meaning employers do not have to demonstrate that the position cannot be filled locally’.

This is true in some areas, but is not fact in regional areas.

People who make public statements about the marginalised need to be scrupulous about getting their facts right, and above all not feeding, intentionally or unintentionally, the rants of bigots.

The ‘They take our jobs’ anti-immigrant extremists will enjoy quoting a Professor!

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