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Skilled migrants causing problems

Skilled migrant workers from non-English speaking countries granted visas to help Australia's skills crisis are adding to the problem they were meant to assist, new findings show. Less than a third of the migrants coming to Australia on skilled worker's visas are working in their field and are simply adding to population growth and housing pressure, a report by Monash University researchers has found.

Article in MX (Melbourne) 29/4/08
(MX is a free newspaper distributed on trains in Melbourne. It is owned by News Ltd (a division of the Murdoch empire)

See also: Migrants add to skills crisis: study by Harriet Alexander in the Sydney Morning Herald of 29 Apr 2008.


As it happens, a lot of discussion Online Opinion concerns the so-called skill shortage and migration. I will include a few posts from a discussion forum in response to Labor Senator Kim Carr's article Securing the future of Australian manufacturing of 10 April 2008

Is skills shortage largely the result of needless certification barriers?

I question whether we really do have a skilled labour shortage or an excess of hyperbole.

We are so demanding of certificates for hands on work we are struggle to find skilled tradesmen. for example.

Commonwealth Games Melbourne. lack of security personnel. In Victoria a security person must study at TAFE for 6 months and sit through classes given by serving policemen. The appropriately accredited bouncers were not going to drop their permanent night club job to do security for the Commonwealth Games for 4 to 6 weeks max. Consequently Indian students were hired. Now skippys had to be qualified by the Indians didn't know how to search bags, persons, were easily bribed with food and quite frankly some Indian security guards were too small to be any deterent to a 50 year old aussie.

Railway linesmen and bush fire brigade members now have to attend TAFE to learn how to use a chainsaw. Can't see how practical experience isn't more beneficial.

Why do registered teachers have to pay an additional $2000 to get a Certificate IV of workplace training?

I am sure there are further examples of demands for certification that are used to create unnecessary barriers to entry.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008 9:36:47 PM

Attainment of unnecessary accreditation costly for jobseekers

Billie has drawn attention to a serious obstacle to employment and promotion; the obsession with academic control over non-apprenticed manual skill employment.

Courses are expensive and out of reach for those unemployed, and at the rate in which TAFEs are being closed down, many students are forced to travel up to two hours each way to their nearest facility (ie as in the closure of Seaforth).

Even such simple jobs as building wooden fences, require a labourer to have several thousand dollars on hand; and (in Qld) be certified by a Building Services Authority that clearly exists to favour the big end of town. It is an indication of how extraneous this qualification demand is, that I learned this skill in a few hours at the age of sixteen.

Politicians insist these requirements were introduced to protect consumers yet, continuing with the example of fencing, construction standards have plummeted quite dramatically.

Of course, government then claims positions cannot be filled and these figures are deducted from unemployed statistics. Thus real unemployment is actually enforced, while simultaneously hiding the numbers.

I look forward to the day when the politicians and bureaucrats responsible stand trial for these crimes against the Australian people.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008 11:07:02 PM

Requirement for Four Wheel Drive Certification

Billie, I think you will find that a lot of that accreditation stuff is tied up with Worksafe, a so called duty of care and some litigation that has gone on. One property owner in NSW I was told, was fined something like $200,000, after a couple of his staff rolled the 4WD whilst checking cattle. It seems he did not fulfil his duty of care, by sending them to an accredited 4WD course.

1 May 2008 10:02:20 AMWednesday, 30 April 2008 11:07:02 PM

Two thirds of 'skilled' migrants not working in vocation

I refer to posts by Billie and Tony Ryan about Australia's skills 'crisis'.

Regardless of the causes of this phenomenon, the prefered solution to date - increasing skilled immigration - seems to have failed.

See Sydney Morning Herald story Migrants add to skills crisis: study of 29 April 2008.

1 May 2008 10:05:13 AM

Government by Minority Lobby, not democracy

Personally, I would like to see an end to all immigration and refugee programmes; and I suspect the majority of Aussies think similarly. I would go further; those who plainly do not respect Australian culture should be returned. But that's our problem. Decisions are made on the basis of what 15% of the population want. This is Government by Minority Lobby, not democracy.

According to my surveys, and depending upon specific issue, between 65% and 94% of Australians do not agree with government policy. I think that that just about sums up all of Australia's problems.

Thursday, 1 May 2008 1:31:18 PM

The Herald reports today (15/05/08) that "Australia's flagship airline is preparing to smash its unionised engineering workforce with non-union labour recruited in Asia and the Pacific, in a move that echoes the epic maritime dispute that rocked the waterfront a decade ago."

Presumably the non-union workforce will be permitted entry into Australia under the 457 visa scheme. Which really begs the question of what this scheme is supposed to achieve. Is it about addressing skills shoratges, or dampening wages pressure?

In this case the engineers are already there, on the payroll. It's not like Qantas can't find enough skilled staff.

In the current dispute the engineers have been offered a pay rise less than last years CPI increase and, not surprisingly, have declined.

Australia's IR landscape now facilitates the reduction (in real terms) of skilled workers wages through the use of overseas recruits to undermine collective action by Australians.

And this under a supposedly Labor government..


The Age is still running the original report, reproduced here in full:

Qantas' strike breakers
Ben Schneiders
May 15, 2008

"QANTAS has devised a secret plan to smash the influence of a powerful airline union, with strike breakers being offered $100,000 for just six months work as aircraft engineers.

The radical plan has come to light on the eve of industrial action by engineers that threatens to bring major disruption to domestic flight schedules from tomorrow.

In a dramatic escalation of an already bitter dispute, Qantas has been quietly recruiting non-union engineers in Asia and the Pacific to act as strike breakers, The Age has learned.

The tactics are reminiscent of those that triggered the waterfront dispute of 1998, raising the spectre of an epic battle between the nation's biggest airline and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.

The Age has seen an employment contract from a Sydney labour hire firm, Newport Aviation, that spells out terms for the strike breakers.

The contracts for six months or less offer about $2300 a week to work as aircraft engineers, plus a $40,000 "completion bonus". If paid in full, the strike breakers would receive about $100,000 for six months — double the average rate for an engineer, according to the union.

Union national secretary Steve Purvinas said he expected his members to be "locked out" as a result — as dock workers were in the waterfront dispute. He said Qantas planned to use an alternative workforce of about 100 people to replace the existing 1500 engineers.

Engineers have significant industrial power, as planes are not allowed to fly without their authorisation.

Mr Purvinas said Qantas had been offering contracts to former staff, including many based in Malaysia, since around Christmas. Some had been approached up to a dozen times, he said.

Qantas chief Geoff Dixon last night refused to confirm or deny whether the airline was training strike breakers. "They are our business, our contingencies, they're not for media or anyone else (to know)," he said.

The airline said it had "put in place measures to minimise the impact on customers" of industrial action but declined to say what the measures were.

The dispute centres on the union's demand for a 5%-a-year pay rise. Mr Dixon has said he will not budge from 3%.

The union will begin overtime bans today and is planning a four-hour stopwork from 2pm tomorrow, with significant disruptions to flights expected.

Mr Dixon said "a limited number of domestic services" had been cancelled. "We have begun contacting affected customers and rebooking them on other services, and everything will be done to get them to their destination as quickly as possible," Mr Dixon said.

Mr Purvinas said the 3% offer failed to match the rising cost of living. The airline says the union reneged on an earlier agreement for pay rises of that amount.

Mr Dixon said this week the airline would not negotiate on its wage policy, which limits pay rises to 3% a year. But Mr Purvinas said the contracts showed that Qantas wanted to break engineers' "culture of commitment to safety", a claim rejected by Mr Dixon.

Qantas has a history of tension with unions. In a recent interview with The Australian Financial Review, Mr Dixon nominated IR as a key issue in his final year running the airline. "The management of this company has contributed far more to its wellbeing and success than any bloody union has," he said.

"It is very important for unions to understand that it's more than just representing your people for a couple of per cent — it is really the long-term future of the industry."

Rising fuel costs and competitive pressures have been used by Qantas in the past to back threats to move jobs offshore. In 2006, strains escalated over the airline's threat to send 2500 maintenance jobs to China. The Federal Government moved to alleviate the situation by giving in to Qantas' demands to lock Singapore Airlines out of the lucrative Pacific route.



If QANTAS is placing pressure on engineers, does this mean that Quantas flights will become more unsafe?