The Maritime Union of Australia has questioned why the Government would consider relaxing immigration rules while Australian unemployment was at a 12 year high.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the introduction of the short-term mobility visa was a further indication that the Abbott Government cared little for Australian workers.
“The Abbott Government has opened the floodgates on a number of fronts already, in some instances migrants wanting to work in Australia don’t need to apply for a visa at all,” Mr Crumlin said referring to the lack of visa requirement for people working in the offshore industry that was regulated last year.
In the short time the Coalition Government has been in power it has proposed and introduced a handful of legislation and regulatory changes to allow employers easy access to cheap foreign workers. Examples include the introduction of designated area migration agreements for places like Darwin, to the recent free trade agreements that allow foreign companies to bring in their own overseas workforce.
“Unemployment is at 6.3 per cent, 15 per cent of young people are out-of-work and those figures are set to increase if current projections about the Australian economy are anything to go by,” he said.
“I understand there are times when skills shortages have to be filled by overseas labour, but now is clearly not the time.
“The fact we have more than 500 ready-to-work seafarers registered with the union at the same time the Government is allowing employers unfettered access to foreign seafarers tells me something is wrong with the current system and if anything regulation needs to be tightened.”