The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says every avenue should be pursued to address the current skills shortage in the transport industry, incluing the use of temporary migrants following recommendations in the Joint Standing Migration Committee Inquiry Report on Temporary Business (457) visas.
The report, which has just been released, makes a number of recommendations to ensure the effectiveness of the temporary visa program in Australia, more specifically, the 457 visa program, which in more recent months, has come under intense scrutiny due to reports of the abuse and exploitation of individuals who are employed under the particular visa.
This report comes soon after a recent Senate Committee inquiry into workforce challenges facing the transport industry.
Notably, the Senate report made the recommendation for industry to acknowledge expansion of the subclass 457 visas as an inappropriate solution to the industry workforce challenges.
Commenting on the report, Australian Trucking Association chief Stuart St Clair says the ATA agrees employing temporary migrants isn’t a long-term solution, but the organisation doesn’t want to see any avenues ignored in the pursuit of finding a solution to the skill shortage.
“The 457 visa opportunities should not be ruled out entirely because it is a viable option for addressing the very immediate skills shortfall,” St Clair says.
The Migration Committee Report made a range of recommendations that could very well stall the possibility of including truck drivers in the list of temporary migrants permitted under the 457 visa arrangements.
One such recommendation being that the existing 457 visa subclass be maintained in its current form and not to be divided into two visa subclasses for higher and lower Australian Standard Classifications of Occupations categorisation.