Unions are deeply concerned about the over-reliance on a growing temporary work visa program that now makes up around 10% of the total Australian labour force.

At a time when unemployment remains stubbornly above 6% and youth unemployment is more than double that, the Australian community needs to have confidence that such a large and growing temporary work visa program is not having adverse impacts on employment and training opportunities for Australians, particularly young people.

Equally, the community needs to be assured that employers and others are not exploiting vulnerable temporary overseas workers who are unaware of their rights or not in a position where they feel able to exercise those rights.

In this submission, we wish to emphasise at the outset that Australian immigration policy should be based squarely on the Australian national interest.

This must include support for the primary right of Australian workers to Australian jobs, and for all workers – whether Australian citizens, permanent residents or temporary residents – to be treated with dignity and respect and in accordance with Australian standards.