MCA Submission to 457 Integrity Review: Training Fund Contribution Proposal

The MCA in principle does not support the proposed training fund contribution program.

The minerals sector has the following concerns with the proposal.

First, the proposal assumes, as a threshold proposition, that the use of the subclass 457 visa program reflects a lack of commitment to education and training.  This mistakes the purpose of temporary skilled migration, particularly subclass 457 visas, as a highly flexible mechanism to fill Australia’s skills gaps in response to market needs. Temporary skilled visa holders are a small but important component of the mining workforce, comprising 2.5 per cent of all mining employees.

Second, the proposal takes no account of the commitment to education and training undertaken by individual sectors. The minerals sector spends more on training per employee than all other industry sectors, with training expenditure accounting for 5.5 per cent of payroll.  This is significantly more than the all-industry average and many times higher than the existing benchmark requirements for the subclass 457 visa program.

Third, the proposal could lead to the cross-subsidisation of programs unaligned to addressing the sector-specific skills needs which necessitated the use of the subclass 457 visa program in the first instance.  Any funds collected from an industry should be invested in sector-and discipline-specific initiatives to address its skills needs.   

The MCA appreciates the opportunity to share our views on the proposal and welcomes an opportunity to discuss this further. 

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