MEDIA RELEASE: 17 NOVEMBER 2016
The association representing public sector engineers, scientists and managers in South Australia says the government needs to re-build its internal capacity for the long term, instead of relying on short-term solutions to build a State economy based on highly skilled STEM workers.
“We should look to our domestic workforce first and foremost in filling these positions so that we keep our key enablers of innovation, productivity and industry in the State. This is critically important given the huge challenges we face with the closure of the automotive industry,” said South Australia Director, Sarah Andrews.
“457s are a short-term solution when what we need is a long-term workforce and development plan for the STEM professions so we build a smarter, more innovative State.”
“We need to invest in the engineering profession.”
Australia imports about two—thirds of its engineering capacity every year using 457 visa or permanent migration. At the same time, successive South Australian governments have reduced engineering capacity in government departments and left South Australia with a technical capacity gap in senior STEM professional roles.
The latest Immigration Department report for 2015/16 revealed that one in six workers approved for a 457 visa in South Australia were sponsored by the State government, more than double the national average.
“What we are seeing is a government that would rather bring in a temporary worker, than taking the time to support a local worker who is just looking for a chance to show their skills. It just doesn’t add up with government policy on building a smarter State,” Ms Andrews said.
“We need to invest in developing a profession which is vital for the long-term future of the State.”
The SA Government has not released information about the number of 457 visa holders employed, nor their positions in government agencies.
Media contact: Ashley Burmeister – 0401 376 636