This submission is the ACTU’s response to the December 2014 Proposal Paper: Simplification of the skilled migration and temporary activity visa programs.

Our key concern is that the paper has failed to address some of the fundamental issues that should be considered by such a major review of the skilled migration program. The growing size of the uncapped temporary visa workforce in Australia and its impacts on the Australian job market, especially young people is just one such key issue that is ignored in the paper.

Any proposals to remove or undermine labour market testing requirements in work visa programs should be comprehensively rejected.

Now, more than ever, with unemployment at the highest levels in a decade, and forecast by the Government itself to rise over the next few years, the onus, and indeed the legal obligation, should be on employers to seek to fill vacant positions with Australian citizens or permanent residents before they seek to employ workers from overseas.