Last year one in every 20 backpackers received a 457 “working holiday” visa which allows them to stay in Australia for four years.
This year the Immigration Department will grant another 241,100 of the same visas to backpackers.
The Centre for Population and Urban Research national secretary Michael O’Connor says the problem will competition between foreign and local workers starts with Australian employers who prefer migrant workers who were “pretty easy to control”.
O’Connor says that employers should be forced to advertise all jobs on Australian job forums first before hiring migrant workers.
“Backpackers are being engaged in the construction industry on semi-skilled labouring work where there would be many ideal candidates locally to do the work,” he said.
But Assistant Minister for Immigration Michaelia Cash has told The Weekend Australian it’s up to the unemployed to seek out the work.
“The reason our fruit gets picked sometimes, unfortunately, is backpackers,” Cash said.
“It would be great if some of those people out on the dole picked fruit.”
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