Overseas workers — good news, bad news


Overseas workers — good news, bad news

Hospitality industry to import waiters, chefs | Racist hiring practices revealed by IT/finance sector survey.


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Hospitality industry to import waiters, chefs | Racist hiring practices revealed by IT/finance sector survey.

Hospitality industry to import waiters, chefs
Employers and unions have been asked for comment on a new template labour agreement, designed to help the tourism and hospitality sectors attract skilled workers from overseas.

Vacancies in this industry are currently around 36,000, and by 2015 another 56,000 workers will be required, particularly in regional areas.

The template labour agreement would cover experienced waiters, chefs, bar attendants, hotel managers and other occupations, which can be hard to fill locally or may be ineligible under other migration programs.

Easier access

‘This template seeks a balance between upholding the standards of the visa system while giving employers easier access to workers whose skills are hard to find in Australia,’ said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

‘Approved employers could nominate workers for temporary skilled subclass 457 visas using the template, enabling workers to be granted visas where they meet the requirements.

‘Of course, employers would need to show they are doing their best to employ and train domestic workers and paying market rates.’

More flexibility

The peak national industry body, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said the proposed template should give tourism operators more flexibility in sourcing skilled workers from overseas.

TTF chief executive John Lee said the proposal is a welcome initiative, but must acknowledge the nature of the tourism and hospitality sectors.

‘The tourism industry needs flexible and innovative solutions to its skilled labour challenges and the proposed template labour agreement needs to help deliver those solutions for a sector which must balance 24/7 operations with fluctuations in seasonal demand,’ Lee said.

‘This proposal would give tourism operators — the vast majority of whom are small businesses — a way to access skilled staff overseas if they cannot find suitable candidates in Australia.’

‘Having a template will reduce their administrative burden by streamlining the application process, so we would encourage businesses to take this opportunity to have their say on how the template should look, which businesses are eligible, as well as included occupations, salary, skill levels and English competency.’

Racist hiring practices revealed by IT/finance sector survey
A new survey has revealed that in spite of long standing equal opportunity policies and anti-racism laws, a majority of IT and finance workers feel racism has a major impact on hiring decisions in Australia.

Conducted during December 2011, the Balance Recruitment survey of 895 IT and finance workers found that 72% of respondents believe racism exists in hiring practices. It also showed that more than 30% of people had first-hand experiences of racism.

Further analysis showed that those respondents who felt racism was a major issue came from a variety of backgrounds, with people originating from the subcontinent (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan) and China most likely to be victims of racist hiring practices. Also represented by the survey were people of Anglo-Saxon, African and South East Asian origins.

Almost one-third of Australia’s population (27%) was born overseas (6 million people).

Ethnic stereotyping: ‘illegal, immoral and poor business’

‘The issue of racism in hiring practices is significant, though the vast majority of clients do not discriminate on racial grounds,’ said Paul Foster, joint managing director of Balance Recruitment.

‘I’m aware of many examples, directly and anecdotally, in the IT/finance industry over a lengthy period of time. Some of the stories actually make your skin crawl.’

Of those surveyed, just 28% felt racism wasn’t an issue when it came to hiring. Furthermore, 8% admitted they believe ethnic stereotyping is warranted. Simon Hogg, the agency’s other joint managing director, described this result as ‘disturbing’.

‘We have walked away from companies who specify certain nationalities within their recruitment criteria; one, it’s illegal, two, it’s immoral, and three, it’s poor business,’ Hogg said.

‘The irony is these companies often end up excluding the best candidate for a position.’

Balance Recruitment is a provider of recruitment services with specialist practices in IT and finance, based in Sydney and Canberra, and opening in Melbourne within the year.
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