The Coalition Government is implementing key reforms to further strengthen Australia’s skilled migration programme to ensure that overseas workers supplement rather than provide a substitute for Australian workers.
In a meeting today with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton tasked the MACSM to review the current Consolidated Sponsored Occupational List (CSOL) to ensure it better reflects genuine labour market needs.
“The CSOL review is part of a suite of reforms which are being progressed by the Government to ensure that Australian workers have priority,” Mr Dutton said.
The CSOL is an expansive list of more than 650 occupations, many of a low skill level. The list was introduced in 2012 by the former Labor government and applies to temporary and permanent employer sponsored visas, including the 457 visa.
“In introducing the list, former Immigration Minister Chris Bowen stated in an address to migration agents in March 2012 that the CSOL ‘will concentrate on truly skilled occupations’ yet he chose to include hundreds of occupations on the list including many vocational occupations and entry level roles regardless of whether they are in shortage or not,” Mr Dutton said.
“Labor holds itself out to be the party of the worker, but in reality the modern day Labor Party has consistently shown a disregard for Australian workers and taxpayers in its big migration and open border policies.
“Labor’s mismanagement saw the Subclass 457 programme grow from around 68,000 primary visa holders at the end of June 2010 to more than 110,000 when they were removed from office.
“It is important that the integrity of the list be maintained to ensure that skilled migration meets the genuine needs of Australia’s economy and does not displace Australian workers. Only the Coalition can be trusted to put Australian workers first.”
MACSM’s review will examine the composition and scope of the list, including opportunities for condensing the list. Reviewing the list was a recommendation of an independent review into the integrity of the 457 programme which the Government commissioned in 2014.
MACSM includes representation from employer and employee groups including Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group and Ged Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
MACSM is due to provide its findings and advice to the Minister in the first half of 2017.