Visa holder questions system as he struggles to find work

Marko Mayenzanise, a 457 work visa holder, is concerned about his family’s future after work dries up.
Marko Mayenzanise, a 457 work visa holder, is concerned about his family’s future after work dries up. Luka Kauzlaric

A ZIMBABWE man has questioned Australia's status as the lucky country as he fights to secure new work on a 457 visa in Gladstone.

Marko Mayenzanise hasn't given up, but is frustrated he cannot provide for his family while unemployed, as they're not entitled to benefits under the temporary visa system.

"If you can't get Centrelink or Medicare support you have to pay for everything, and when I don't have money where can I go?"

"Some people will say go back home but is that all that can be said?" he asked.

Mr Mayenzanise was sponsored to come to Gladstone, selling his family home to bring his wife and two children.

He came on a six-month contract in March last year, and has secured several short-term jobs since, but is now struggling to support his family.

"I was told I would get a lot of opportunities (to) get another job, and then it became a nightmare.

"I came here as a fitter and turner and I'm trying to get a job at Pizza Hut."

Mr Mayenzanise had hoped his four-year temporary visa would become permanent residency.

"A 457 means you've been admitted into the country to stay and work. You're as good as a local citizen," he said.

"What confuses me is, I've been able to come here legally and then I get treated as someone who's a border jumper."

His son Tanaka finished Year 12 last year and applied for a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, but was told because of the 457 visa he couldn't be accepted.

The Department of Immigration has said there were no work limitations on secondary holders of 457 visas.

Visa change means locals will be first pick

EMPLOYERS will be forced to prove they searched for local workers before sponsoring overseas workers in a crackdown on temporary work visas.

Changes to the 457 foreign worker visa scheme were passed in Federal Government despite the latest figures showing a cut in applications granted.

In Queensland alone the number of people on 457 visas decreased by 2.1% to 10,120 in the year to May.

The Immigration Department said most common occupations were cooks, meat workers and doctors.

Mechanical and civil engineers were also in the top 15.

The changes that came into effect on July 1 include an increased army of Fair Work inspectors to investigate potential breaches of the system.

The changes came after concern that some employers were rorting the system.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union took evidence to the Federal Government after exposing recruitment schemes that forced hundreds of foreign workers into debt to repay loans of up to $20,000 for the right to work in Australia.

Under the changes employers have to conduct labour market testing, by taking out employment advertisements, to prove they searched for Australian workers before hiring temporary workers from overseas on 457 visas.

A union march along Goondoon St in April was a recent show that not everyone was happy with the 457 visas, with construction union national secretary Dave Noonan saying his members were concerned companies were relying too much on international workers on 457 visas.

Topics:  457 visas employment gladstone jobs

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