Australia to curb fast-food visas
The Australian government is considering limiting the number of visas it issues to workers to be employed in fast food chains like McDonald's, KFC and Hungry Jack's. Australian Immigration minister Peter Dutton said the move was to protect Australian jobs, saying "Australian workers, particularly young Australians, must be given priority." However, he said under exceptional circumstances, visas would still be granted.
The visa under question is Visa 457, which allows employers to bring in staff from abroad if they can't find a suitably qualified Australian. Under the visa, the commonly recruited employees are cooks, cafe managers and marketing specialists. It also extends to the immediate family of those being recruited. 457 holders can stay and travel in and out of Australia freely for 4 years.
An agreement adopted in 2012 when the Labour Party was in power allowed foreign workers to apply under the fast food industry too. This became controversial, as it questioned the idea of skilled labour. Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten complained that the government was being lazy as it was easier to "import our skills [rather] than train our people."
According to statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia on 457 visas as on September 2016. Of these 24.6% came from India, 19.5% from the UK and 5.8% from China. In 2016, the most 457s were granted to cooks, developers, programmers and medical workers.
The Australian government stated that it intends to reduce the number of occupations listed under the 457 visa. Immigration minister Peter Dutton, said they have already cut short the stay of 457 visa holders from 90 days to 60 days, after their employment ceases in Australia. Sources said that at least 57 occupations in the list face the axe.