Opposition Leader Bill Shorten aims to do more to protect jobs for Australians. Picture: Kym Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten aims to do more to protect jobs for Australians. Picture: Kym Smith

Labor taking aim at cheap labour

LABOR will overhaul the visa system to force businesses to boost local wages under a crackdown on foreign workers.

In Queensland today, Labor leader Bill Shorten will unveil a multi-pronged plan aimed at protecting vulnerable workers, creating more jobs for Australians and ending the "457-style visa rorts".

Mr Shorten will pledge those hired on temporary skilled visas are paid no less than $65,000 under the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, up from $53,900. The change will ­require legislation and Labor believes the new wage floor will make the jobs more attractive to locals because they will have to be paid more.

A public register will also be set up to show the number of foreign workers businesses have hired. It will also start a new Australian Jobs Test to put a handbrake on foreign ­nationals being granted jobs under skills shortages.

Laws state overseas workers cannot be paid less than an Australian worker doing the same work in the same location, but Mr Shorten believes there are holes in the system. There is no longer a 457 visa in Australia, however, there are other visas businesses use to hire overseas workers.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten aims to do more to protect jobs for Australians. Picture: Kym Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten aims to do more to protect jobs for Australians. Picture: Kym Smith

"Labor believes there is no excuse for a skills shortage to last one day longer that it takes to train an Australian to do that job, especially if a particular industry is booming, and we'll train local workers with our plans to invest in TAFE and higher education,'' Mr Shorten said.

"Around four out of five temporary skilled worker visas are granted for occupations where there is no shortage of skilled workers in Australia, this needs to change."



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