Visa help to find skilled workers in Calamity-hit-Australia

The Federal Government will make it easier for businesses helping the Queensland reconstruction to employ overseas workers. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised quicker visa approvals for employer-sponsored temporary skilled migrants who join the effort.

“Skilled labour will be as important as funding for rebuilding,” Ms Gillard said. There will be extra resources, assistance to employers and simpler processes to ensure a five-day turnaround for decision-ready applications. The median processing time now is 18 days.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions urged caution.

“No one wants to see a return to the sort of abuses we saw under the former Coalition government, where unscrupulous employers were allowed to exploit overseas workers and to remove job opportunities and push down the wages of Australian workers,” ACTU president Ged Kearney said.