On 18 June 2012, Greens MP Adam Bandt introduced to Parliament the Protecting Local Jobs (Regulating Enterprise Migration Agreements) Bill 2012. The Bill proposes to create a legislative framework for Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs). It seeks to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Migration Act 1958 to restrict the use of EMAs.
AREEA believes the changes proposed by the Bill will unnecessarily increase red-tape on employers seeking to gain access to Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs). An overwhelming majority of respondents to a recent AREEA survey about the Bill stated that the proposed changes would negatively impact employers seeking to gain access to EMAs. A key theme from respondents was that increased bureaucracy and complexity was not required, when extensive safeguards to protect local jobs already exist.
Based on direct feedback from its member companies in the national resource industry, AREEA submits the following response to specific proposals in the Bill:
- The amendment to make usage of the local jobs board compulsory for employers is not supported by the industry. Employers must already provide evidence that the relevant skills cannot be sourced locally. Furthermore, employers across the sector have implemented significant recruitment campaigns with the objective of attracting local candidates.
- The amendment to impose a further levy on employers for each overseas worker recruited is not supported by the industry. A specific monetary contribution from employers for the training of Australians already exists under the current guidelines.
- The amendment to confer upon the Workplace Relations Minister power to prioritise and influence resource sector employment decisions is opposed by industry. This is not a role for government. Workforce planning and employment decisions are best left to individual employers and the industry.
- The requirements to table written EMAs in Federal Parliament is not supported by industry. Commercially sensitive information must be kept in confidence for project owners and contractors alike.
Click here to read AREEA’s submission.