Canberra – Many local tech companies in the country have been accused of exploiting the 457 working visa scheme as a way to replace Australian workers, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said during a speech before the Australian Council of Trade Unions recently.
Gillard said these IT companies were the main beneficiaries of migrant workers with temporary visas that are mostly located in Western Australia and Queensland and thus depriving many Australian workers of job opportunities.
The prime minister stressed that the issue of overseas working visa is not only an immigration issue but also a policy issue on employment, wages and work conditions. She assured Australian workers that they will be given priority for job opportunities.
Government data showed the number of temporary migrant workers increased by about 20 percent last year, in relation to local employment rate which grew to only one percent.
Records also showed that about 5,800 temporary migrant workers have entered the country in the last seven months, which is higher the 4,500 tech graduates from universities.
Gillard also expressed disappointment that the opportunities for tech jobs were mostly given to migrant workers instead of the Australian workers.
At present, there are about 107,000 migrant workers with temporary visas, one-sixth of them working in the mining industry.