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12 June 2007
Australia's Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews has announced an "industry working group" that will investigate the needs of the trucking industry in finding skilled labor.
The group will assess the needs and circumstances in which the use of the 457 temporary work visa would be appropriate. For some time now, Australian businesses have complained that they are short of 'semi-skilled' workers to perform critical industry functions.
Australia's 457 visa allows employers to sponsor skilled migrants from abroad for temporary work. Industry and business interests would like to see the visa rules relaxed slightly so that foreign workers with needed skills can fill jobs that are going unclaimed.
"The working group will provide advice as to the development of appropriate standards and benchmarks for the trucking industry before the government will consider any further the granting of temporary skilled visas to the industry," Andrews said.
"It is important to ensure that issues such as entry level qualifications, skills and experience required within the trucking industry and current and future training initiatives of Australian workers are not compromised or diminished by the possible introduction of 457 visas."
The group will examine the needs across the whole industry, including mechanics, drivers, trailer construction and repair, logistics, and warehousing.
It will also focus on English language requirements and "Australian knowledge".
The group is expected to report its findings in late 2007.
Related: 457 visas continued for migrant meat workers in Australia