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SA unions want temporary visas scrapped

Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Author: Liam Mannix, Indaily
SA unions boss Janet Giles

SA unions boss Janet Giles
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South Australia's peak union group will lobby for the full abolition of the Federal Government's temporary visa program, including controversial 457 visas.

The demand is contained within SA Unions' official election policy, released yesterday. The policy will form the backbone of campaigns at the upcoming state and federal elections.

The policy calls on the unions to fight for "the abolition of the temporary visa system as a poor solution to labour and skill shortages in favour of genuine and fair immigration programs".

SA Unions' call to scrap the foreign worker visas goes a step further than attacks on the program by the federal peak unions body.

SA Unions Secretary Janet Giles told InDaily her organisation didn't believe there was any need for the visas.

"We don't believe that people need to come into our country on a temporary basis when there's a skills shortage," Giles said.

"We believe that we could have some sort of decent migration system."

Workers using temporary visas were often abused by their employers, Giles said.

"What we've found is when people come in on temporary visas, they basically come in at the whims of employers, and are tied to that particular employer, which means that they feel very uncertain to raise issues around their wages, conditions, living arrangements, because they're really nervous that their visa will be cancelled and they'll be sent back.

"What we're saying is that people who come to our country to work should have the same rights as any worker - to join their union, to complain when something's not right, and to get decent wages and conditions."

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