Our members responded immediately demonstrating the importance of getting this policy setting right.
Tourism operators are passionate about employing locals as their first priority, however, a skills shortage, especially with multilingual people and chefs, forces the industry to use workers from overseas.
Of the 44 respondents, 57 per cent have used 457 visas over the past five years to secure the necessary skills for roles integral to their business. The majority employed two to five staff members this way.
Some members who employed and sponsored several overseas workers for residency used 462 visas, 417 visas or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme 187 visa.
Some TNQ operators cited the main reason for their move away from the 457 visa as the increase in the minimum wage for these workers which is more than the award wages for Australians creating a pay disparity between them.
Operators are concerned about changes to the 187 visa which will also result in pay disparity. These changes require the minimum wage for these visa holders to meet “the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold” which is currently $53,900.
The Recreational Diving Award, which Australian diving instructors are employed under is currently $41,000. It is unfair to Australian workers in our industry to be disadvantaged by a person on a skilled migration visa to this extent and it is unfair for the Federal Government to expect our industry to increase pay rates by more than 30 per cent to satisfy their immigration requirements.
The Federal Government’s plan is to replace the 457 visa with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which it says would support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages.
Our industry needs a visa to address skills shortages so we can continue to deliver the high-quality service we are renowned for, but we need a visa regime that takes into account an equitable rate of pay for Australian and overseas workers and does not force businesses into massive pay rate increases that threaten their viability.
The survey results have been referred to the Federal Government to support their policy deliberations.
Alex de Waal
Chief Executive Officer