Professionals Australia has called for the Federal Government to temporarily take engineering off the Skilled Occupation List, until there is a change in the labour market.
Thursday, 29 May 2014
In light of a softening engineering labour market Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton has written to Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison to request that engineering is temporarily removed from the Skills Occupation List.
Mr Walton said that in the last year, there had been around 7,000 engineering job losses as a result of the hiatus in the resources sector, closure announcements in the automotive and manufacturing sectors and public sector job cuts.
“Even prior to the automotive closure announcements, we saw a tangible softening in demand for engineers across many disciplines and regions.
“To provide members with the best chance of local employment, Professionals Australia has sought a temporary suspension of engineering from the Skilled Occupation List.
The Skilled Occupation List consists of occupations where the Australian workforce cannot meet demand and is used to encourage relevant professionals to emigrate to Australia.
Mr Walton said “Our importation of engineering labour over many years should has taught us, engineers are highly educated global professionals, able to move to meet demand. With the departure of high-end manufacturing and the allied industries it enables, we also will see the departure of some of the most vital human capital we have – unless we implement practical public policy measures that will provide opportunities that will keep them here.
“By temporarily taking engineering off the Skilled Occupation List, we could have a simple, no-cost and effective measure that would also lessen demand on welfare, education and training services.
Mr Walton provided commentary on this issue to The Australian, here is an extract (link to full article below):
EMPLOYERS have recruited 37,620 foreign managers, professionals and tradespeople this year, despite a growing pool of 191,000 unemployed Australians qualified for the same jobs.
Official data reveals that while 67,000 Australian technicians and tradies search for work, employers have brought in 10,210 foreign trade workers on 457 work visas during the first nine months of this financial year. Employers also looked offshore for 19,260 professional staff, despite a pool of 83,700 Australians unemployed.
And 8150 managers were sponsored on 457 visas, despite 40,200 Australian managers on the dole queue.
Unions demanded tighter controls on migrant labour yesterday, as employers insisted foreigners were only doing jobs that Australians “would not or could not” do.
Professionals Australia has asked the Abbott government to remove engineering from its approved list of skilled occupations for migrant labour, in light of 7000 job losses in the past year. Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver said Australian nursing graduates, carpenters, cooks, engineers, fitters and motor mechanics were having trouble finding work, at the same time employers were using migrant labour.
“We can’t be importing workers and creating a market glut that forces up unemployment, shuts out local workers and halts opportunities for young people trying to get into the workforce.
Professionals Australia chief executive Chris Walton said 7000 engineers had lost their jobs in the past year, and the closure of Toyota and Holden would land hundreds more out of work.
“We’re producing fewer engineering graduates than we’re importing, and that’s a travesty,” Mr Walton said.
Read the full article “Jobless lose out to migrant force “, by Natasha Bita, The Australian, 29 May 2014.