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Recruiter allowed to act as sponsor for foreign workers
12/03/2012 - Australia will source more labour via temporary visas after the rules were relaxed recently to allow recruitment agencies to act as sponsors. Rebecca Le May
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Previously, only companies that were to directly employ the foreign workers were allowed to provide sponsorship under the 457 temporary via scheme.
Recruiter Adecco Group said it had - after much effort - secured recently a licence from the federal government to on-hire 457 visas holders.
It was one of the few recruitment companies to have done so, its director of marketing and communications for Australia and New Zealand, Rick Khinda, said.
Debt-laden Europe represented a keen pool of labour across all age groups that was waiting to be tapped, particularly in utilities, mining and information technology.
"There are some great, talented people across South East Asia, across Europe now with its high unemployment," Khinda told reporters on the sidelines of a business briefing in Perth on Friday.
"We're the sponsor, we payroll them and then we on-hire them to our customers."
Many clients wanted to use foreign workers but didn't want the burden of engaging with the 457 process, so would welcome a recruitment firm playing an intermediary role, he said.
"I think there will be a slow increase in the 457 visas, but I don't think there is going to be a big rush because you do have to position yourselves appropriately to obtain the licence," Khinda said.
"It will take some time before it happens.
"It can only be of value to the GDP (gross domestic product) growth of our country."
BT Financial Group economist Chris Caton told the briefing that Australia's shortage of skilled labour was going to last a long time, given the number of people in the prime working age group of 15 to 64 was expected to fall in coming years.
"We used to have labour force growth of 1.5 to two per cent a year and we're going to get used to one per cent or less, and that's even with a continued active migration program," Dr Caton said.
The expansion of the mining sector would continue to put pressure on other sectors, he said.
It is anticipated that 45,000 extra workers will be needed in the mining industry by 2020, up from 92,000 currently.
That need could not be met from population increases or by using the unemployed, so more temporary workers would be needed, Dr Caton said.
Temporary labour numbers in Australia have been growing over the past 20 years, notwithstanding a plunge during the global financial crisis, rising four per cent in 2010/11 compared to the previous year, Adecco research shows.
Source: AAP NewsWire
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J Maunder | 12/03/2012 13:07 1
No problem with 457 workers, provided they do not replace employed Australians. They are paid Australian award salaries, and receive Australia workplace conditions.
IndustrySearch Chris | 12/03/2012 14:01 2
The problem though is that in many, many cases they are replacing employed Australians, often on the spurious assertion that they have skills currently unavailable in Australia. The 457 visa system is flawed and corruptable, and allowing recruiters to act as sponsors gives it further potential for misuse.
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