- United States
More than 1700 temporary foreign workers will by allowed to work in Australia on the Roy Hill iron-ore project under the first Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) as announced by the Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) sharply criticized the Immigration Minister’s decision that will endanger the Australian workers. ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said, “This is a very disappointing decision from the government and we will be seeking to meet with the relevant Ministers as early as possible to discuss the ramifications of this decision.”
Bowen, on the other hand, argues that there are regional and national skills shortages in the country that can hamper the $9.5 billion Roy Hill project operated by Hancock Prospecting. The foreign temporary workers will fill the shortages without jeopardising economic growth and local jobs.
Bowen said, “It will also help ease the pressure on local industries that cannot compete for labour with major resource projects and are therefore placed in jeopardy.”
Roy Hill will generate up to 2000 training opportunities for the Australians as part of the EMA agreement.
“In total, Roy Hill is set to invest in excess of $20-million in the training of Australians in a variety of programmes including traineeships, apprenticeships, upskilling and leadership training,” Bowen added.
Dave Oliver said, “The mining boom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in secure jobs, skills and building new communities that will drive Australia’s economic growth into the future. It must not be squandered by mining moguls seeking to fatten their profits at the expense of the Australian community and workers.”
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced extra protections for Australian jobs to the Hancock Prospecting deal. Ms Gillard said, “We will have a jobs board which is a way for Aussies to know what’s happening in the resources sector and what the jobs are, and companies won’t be able to bring in foreign workers if there are Australians ready, able and willing to do the work on the jobs board.”
She further said, “Second, I am strengthening oversight of Enterprise Migration Agreements.”
The Roy Hill project plans to start shipping the iron ore in 2014, with production expected to peak at 55 million tonnes a year.
Tags: Australia, Australia immigration, Australia mining industry, Australian work permit, Enterprise Migration Agreement, Foreign Workers, Hancock Prospecting, Hill Roy Iron-Ore project, Immigration, Temporary Foreign workers, work in Australia, work permit