We used to be told we needed immigrants to do the work that Australians did not deign to lower themselves to do (although it was never explained who did the this work before the advent of imported drudges); now we are being told we need imported workers because Australians just don't have the necessary skills (presumably because they are too lazy, stupid or addicted to drinking beer and watching sport to acquire them). Of course these terms are never officially employed; rather, we are constantly informed about a 'skills shortage', very much along the same lines as a water shortage, the type of natural disaster the cause of which is so mystifying and altogether beyond human control that insurance companies, although not exactly hot-beds of religion, employ the phrase, 'act of God'. The god being worshipped though through the sacrifice of the Australian worker is the god of Globalisation.
If there is indeed a skills shortage, and most tend to agree there is, there are only two possible ways this could have come about: either A)through criminal neglect by politicians who would not have the foresight to pack an umbrella on a rainy day or B)by being willfully engineered by the same politicians whose crimes are far more serious than the neglectful kind.
As it is extremely difficult to believe that our illustrious leaders could really be so cretinous as to allow something so valuable as our skills base to run down to such a catastrophic level by accident, one really has no option than to go with B). In scrambling like terrified recruits to fall into line with the New World Order, and obeying the orders of multinational corporations like beaten currs, they prove themselves beyond doubt to be deadly poison to those whose interests they lie about serving and who pay their salaries.
Because of the 'skills shortage' we needed the 457 visa arrangement to cater to a new type of immigrant - a type of guest worker, but one with the skills appropriate to plugging the many holes that had mysteriously opened where once there had been endemic unemployment. What exactly were these skills that were so unexpectedly in demand? Think of a skill - any skill. In fact, if one were to superimpose a list of the occupations eligible for a 457 visa onto a list of all the (even marginally skilled) occupations that existed, an almost perfect match would be found. More than a few 457 occupations barely make it into the skilled category. These include: amusement centre manager (probably advertised as a 'fun job'), post officer manager (notwithstanding Australia Post's army of employees), railway station manager (ditto for State Rail), residential care workers (normally employed straight off the street) massage therapists (happy ending?) and florists (tried Oxford Street?) Hairdressers, although admittedly skilled, also figure but who would have thought Australia needed any more hairdressers? Truck drivers were also included for a short time but given that most people with a car licence could learn to drive a truck with a few hours practice, a hasty retreat was beaten from this position. Possibly though it was the catastrophic potential inherent in big rigs driven by those not entirely sure of which side of the road should be on that soured this plan. Whichever, when Australia finds itself with anunskilled shortage, it will probably be about time to give the game away all together.
Is there any chance whatsoever of the 457 visa having a detrimental effect on the employment opportunities of Australians? Oh ye of little faith! How could you think such a thought? But just a minute. It seems that the self proclaimed protector of the Australian worker, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has thought such a thought. Normally as tame as a pet puppy, it was moved to express mild concern in its submission to the Review of Australia's Labour Migration and Temporary Entry Program of April 2003. In amongst its lamenting the conditions of temporary workers, and the concomitant skills drain on their countries of origin, it observed '... the Federal Government's review of nursing's estimated shortages over the next five years to be in the order of 35,000. At the same time Australia (sic) young people have been turned away from training at the rate of nearly 2000 a year since 1997, as a result of the systematic de-funding by the Federal Government of training courses. In Victoria it is reported that in 2002 some "1300 Victorian students had missed out on a nursing career this year and the situation would worsen next year"'.(The Age 8/9/02) Perhaps not wanting to ruffle too many feathers, the ACTU was quick to add that it nevertheless saw globalisation as inevitable and that it was proud of its role as a full partner in its facilitation.
So why train workers when they can simply be ordered from overseas when the need arises? This no doubt is the sentiment being sweetly murmured into the pearly-pinks of our quislings by the corporate big wigs they stand in awe of, not a few of which are heading the multinationals who pay little or no tax here. This after all, as if we need reminding, is all about globalisation that is leading us all into the promised land. Understandably, overseas corporations have a predilection for importing their own people into management of their Australian operations, especially when there are language considerations. There is not a great deal to worry about in terms of opposition to this practice. '...[T]here should be minimal regulations in relation to personnel falling into the executive, managerial, professional and specialist categories ... globalisation of production in both goods and services was both good for Australia and [of course] inevitable.' This sums up the view of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as expressed in the Roach Inquiry of 1997 into the issue.
There is though a safeguard here and that is an onus placed on employers to check whether a position can be filled with local talent before importing it. Unfortunately the drawback is that this is pretty much an honour system as - get ready for it - THERE IS NO LABOUR MARKET TESTING. This effectively means that an employer can go right ahead and make that overseas call without the inconvenience of demonstrating that, try as they might, they simply could not find anybody in all of Australia to do the job in question. What a godsend this is to those mambers of ethnic groups, which unlike mug Australians, retain strong racial consciousness and would rather employ even the most incompetent of their own kind rather than any Australian, because ... well let's face it, they don't really like Australians.
There is an added, turbo-charged advantage to the importation of 457 holders, and that is that a Damocles sword hangs by a thread over the head of the person whose Australian residence is dependent on his keeping his job. He will of course go to far greater lengths to protect it than will his native equivalent. No condition will be too repugnant to him, no danger too threatening. As John Sutton, the national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) told ABC radio on 14/4/08 '... three workers on 457 visas were killed on the job last year ... workers were badly underpaid ... living twelve to a house in appalling accommodation .. pay packets tampered with ... money deducted without permission'. Why wouldn't unscrupulous employers be lusting after 457s? Note that this union official's sympathies seem wholly with the woes of the imported worker who, in the final analysis, has probably never had it so good in comparison to where he's come from (invariably the third world). This is a rich irony given that joining a union is probably the last thing these people would risk, while the plight of Australians paying union dues which pay his salary, and whose jobs are put at risk by the 457 visa is effectively ignored.
If the thread breaks and the sword drops, much more in fact is at risk than the loss of temporary residence and, if no other sponsor can be found, then it's home you go. Just like the holders of student visas being handed out like free condoms in Bangkok, the holders of 457 visas are automatically in the draw for permanent residency. And to speed things along, both student visa holders and 457 workers can now gain permanent immigration status 'on shore'. No crystal ball is needed to predict an exponential growth in this back-door immigration. In the financial year 2007 to '08 roughly ninety per cent of the 17,760 of those gaining permanency via employer sponsorship were former 457 visa holders.
By amazing coincidence the US, a country that just like Australia got to where it is by the innovation and ingenuity of its people, now also finds itself with a 'skills shortage', the only remedy for is to go offshore for the required talent. Perhaps if just a little patience could be exercised, the jobs being exported could be married up with the overseas skills therefore cutting out a laborious stage of the exercise but that's another story. The American equivalent of the 457 visa is H1-B visa. This though has much more class than the Australian version. Firstly, a Bachelor's degree is the usual minimum prerequisite, and secondly, with a population many time's greater than Australia's, a cap of 65,000 per fiscal year is placed on the issuance.
Compared with that, in Australia it's more open slather than what the drunk say after the explosion in a shaving cream factory. At last count, there were 110,500 people working in Australia on 457 visas. In one year, 2007 to '08 there was a 27% increase. That rate of increase will, if continued and there is absolutely no reason to believe it won't, (the smart money will be on an increased rate) obviously see a doubling every four years. Remember, there is no actual test of whether any particular job could be undertaken by a native before an import is sought. So what jobs are we likely to be left with? Traffic intersections can only accommodate so many windscreen cleaners.
Keen monitoring my even be rewarded by the recognition of such deviancy as reclassified jobs. Remember 'domestic care officer'? That's simply bureaucrat-speak for someone who does housework and personal care such as helping with showers and meals. So be on the lookout for something like 'Personal Relaxation Officers' - formerly known as prostitutes.
Whatever the visa is that allows people to live and work in Australia, be it 457, student visa, or the working holiday visa that currently soaks up 90,000 jobs, they all come under the one major heading: SCAMS. They are simply different schemes to pack more and more people into the country that an already unprecedentedly bloated immigration scheme simply can't cope with. Get used to it; you are being globalised.