Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Review

The MCA has made a submission in response to the Proposal Paper, the ‘Simplification of the skilled migration and temporary activity visa programmes’ (December 2014), as part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Review of the Current Skilled Migration and 400 Series Visa Programmes.

The submission indicates that the minerals industry is a discerning employer of skilled migrants, leveraging skilled migration to address ‘hard to fill’ experienced professional roles.  The industry’s use of Subclass 457 Temporary Skilled visas, for example, sits at only three per cent of the minerals workforce.

The MCA agrees with the proposition in the Proposal Paper that skilled migration arrangements should take account of the fact that Australia’s economy and its major industry sectors are increasingly integrated with the global economy.  The mining industry is the most globally oriented of all Australian industry sectors and the industry’s requirement for the mobility of skilled personnel reflects this global orientation.

The MCA particularly welcomes the proposed changes to simplify skilled migration and temporary visa programmes outlined in the Proposal Paper.  We believe these reforms will underpin the industry’s need to be able to deploy its people in order to meet business objectives, while also providing employees with broad experience and exposure to the organisation as part of their ongoing development. 

Of particular interest is the proposed 12 month Short Term Mobility Visa, which would address much of the need for short-term global mobility of skilled labour. Minerals companies have also noted that the proposed Visa would enable them to fill highly specialised short-term secondments that assist with corporate knowledge transfer, talent management, succession planning and workforce development. 

The MCA also urges that the Temporary Skilled (subclass 457) visa remain uncapped and ensure that initiatives to improve processing efficiency are maintained.  The industry has found subclass 457 visa requirements onerous and requiring significant administration.  For example, if companies want to move personnel from one site to another, this must be lodged as an amendment.  Labour market testing is also an unnecessary and ineffective administrative requirement that will become more acute during an industry upturn, and should be abolished.

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