The Government has a plan to allow regional business, struggling to get workers, to hire foreigners on a 10% discount to local workers, according to The Australian this morning which says the new rules were signed off this week.
Initially applied to Darwin, which is losing workers to the local Icthys gas project, The Oz says the new rules will then be rolled out “to other areas suffering an exodus of skilled workers rushing to join mining and gas companies”.
The Oz also says that “concessions” on skills and qualifications will also be considered if companies get desperate for workers and can show that they can not find appropriately skilled workers.
In an economy that has just seen a spike in unemployment to 6.4% and which is struggling to absorb the new entrants into the work force, this plan is likely to ignite political debate and a fight with those opposed to 457 visas.
But the reality is that Australia is a complex mish-mash of regional economies with different demands, drivers, inputs, outputs, populations, employment markets and workforces, and not the homogeneous single entity many assume.
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