A possie in Aussie

March 5, 2009

Market rates, site rates and the migrant worker in the muddle

Filed under: 457 visas,Immigrant workers — Nayano @ 7:18 am
Tags: , , , ,

Proposed new regulations for 457 visas (temporary skilled migrants) are intended to improve the lot of immigrant workers. Improvements have been sorely needed. What seems to be a ‘good idea’ is the proposal that  workers are paid ‘market rates’. The Immigration Department (DIAC) has not yet provided a definition of market rates, but as far as I can tell it indicates rates directly comparable to the pay rates of similar organisations. It  may be an average, or even a mean, across similar industries.

Employers are calling instead for ‘site rates’, that is, to pay 457 workers the same rates as their locally-sources workers.

I agree with employers that workers’ wages should be based on what everyone else is paid in an individual business, and not by external rates set by the Government, because this would immediately set up inequities.

The 457 workers may, under a market rate scheme, be paid less that the rate negotiated by the rest of the workers at a particular site.

If the market rate is more than the site rate, then the local workers would have a legitimate grievance. As I have said before, we do not need to create grievances against migrants, particularly around jobs, and especially in the labour market as it is at present.

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