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Unions highlight ‘broken visa system’

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called for the Senate Inquiry into Temporary Work Visas to slow the growth rate of the overseas temporary work program.

In its submission, the ACTU states that the number of temporary visa holders in Australia in 2014 rose by 45,000, compared to the 40,000 more Australians that found themselves out of a job.

Unions say that the number of people on temporary visas will hit around two million by 2020 if the current growth rate continues, a trend they suggest is proving to be a hindrance to a number of young Australians attempting to enter the workforce.

“There is no benefit to the current trend where we rely on transient workers to fill alleged gaps in skills. We must create opportunities through investment and training to combat rising unemployment,” ACTU President Ged Kearney said.

“We need to focus on creating job opportunities for any Australian who wants them and permanent migration to address areas where there may be genuine skills shortages.”

The 1.2 million individuals on temporary work visas make up 10 per cent of the country’s workforce, a number the ACTU says should be capped.

Unions point out that there are 800,000 Australians out of work, while over 1.2 million temporary visa workers are employed in Australia.