The Australian Immigration department has announced that employers recruiting for ‘highly skilled occupations’ will be exempted from the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement and therefore will not need to advertise jobs in Australia before offering them to temporary foreign workers.
In June 2013, Australia’s previous Labor government passed legislation which required Australian employers to advertise jobs in Australia under LMT before employing foreign workers under the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457). The new law requiring LMT was due to come into force on 23rd November 2013.
In June, speaking as the opposition immigration spokesman at the time, Scott Morrison, opposed the introduction of LMT saying that it would be costly and unnecessary. Mr Morrison is now the Immigration minister for the new Coalition government.
Since holding the position, Morrison has faced repeated calls from Australian business organisations such as AMMA, the Australian Mines and Minerals Association and Master Builders Australia to repeal the LMT legislation. Although this recent announcement supports Morrisons original views for change, it is someway away from his proposed policy which committed to scrap the Labour Market Testing requirement altogether.
Warning for employers not to abuse the system
In a recent speech given by Morrison, he told employers that he would not tolerate any abuse of the system. In the speech he said ‘If you abuse [the system] then you can expect me in my first responsibility for law enforcement in immigration to be as tough on that as people-smugglers find that I will be tough on our borders’.
Research by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union shows that applications for 457 visas have dropped by 13% since the news that LMT was to be introduced was announced. Between May and August 2013, there were 23,450 requests for 457 visas, down 3,500 on the same period in 2012.