Business

Business fights back over 457 visa changes

CONCERN over sudden changes to rules governing visas for skilled workers appears to be divided along town and country lines.

The alterations to the 457 visas - announced by Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor on Saturday - mean bosses must show there is a "genuine shortage" of skilled labour forcing them to look beyond Australian borders.

Those coming from overseas to fill these roles must now be more proficient in English.

The Federal Government has come under increasing pressure from unions nationally about allowing 457 visas when there suspicion that Australian workers are being overlooked.

In parts of regional Queensland, these 457 visas are used to plug holes either in or caused by the booming mining industry.

Even fast food restaurants are occasionally forced to consider using foreign workers.

Queensland's Chamber of Commerce and Industry is on the warpath, viewing the government's changes as "anti-business".

General manager for advocacy Nick Behrens said these workers were most needed in healthcare, construction, mining, then food services and accommodation.

"What the Federal Government does not understand is that for states like Queensland, we continue to experience skills shortages in many professions across the state."

Regional businesses in regional Queensland are struggling to access a suitable workforce for their needs.

"The reality is, even if you trained the people, the competition means they would be trained and they would go across to the resources industry for the higher dollars."

But the Queensland Farmers' Federation said the changes made little difference to its primary producing members.

A QFF spokesman said the skills shortage was serious in rural areas, but those in agriculture had substantial proof to show it needed the foreign hands.

On Sunday, Minister O'Connor said the changes were to fight those rorting the legislation and discriminating against Australian nationals keen to do the work.

Topics:  457 visas, agriculture, skills shortage




Rudest map: What Northern Rivers place names made the cut?

Bullshit Hill is on Australia's rude map.

We still can't believe that Blue Knob isn't on the list

Lismore roadworks to disrupt bridge traffic

Roadworks

Watch out for changed traffic conditions this weekend

Defiant Gulaptis dumped after speaking out on greyhound ban

Chris Gulaptis  Photo Contributed

Gulaptis dumped for speaking out on greyhounds

Latest deals and offers

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Top 5 in local entertainment this week

No Caption

Top 5 events in local entertainment this week

Fallskaraoke: Sing for your tickets

The Jezabels are an Australian indie rock band formed in Sydney in 2007. They consist of Nik Kaloper on drums and percussion, Samuel Lockwood on lead guitar, Hayley Mary on lead vocals and Heather Shannon on piano and keyboard.

The 2016/17 Falls Music & Arts Festival line-up has landed!

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

This week's Northern Rivers gig guide

INTIMATE REQUESTS: This month at Miss Amber & Stukulele’s uKE Night you can request or perform your favourite songs from the past five years. The stage will not be used so everyone is at the same level.Come along with or without a four-stringed friend and feel the love of an impromptu community sing along. Adults $10 – Kids under 15 $2.50 from 6:30pm tonight  Thursday at Club Mullum in the Ex-Services Club, Mullumbimby.Photo by  (this one has no water mark)

All the events happening across the region this coming week

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m