A top shearing body in Australia is pushing for the Federal Government to introduce a new visa scheme that will allow shearers from the UK to come work in Australia. They argue that such a visa scheme will address the critical shortage of labor in Australia.
The shearing body, WA Shearing Industry Association (WASIA) has spoken to David Coleman, Australia’s Immigration Minister and requested that shearers from the UK be permitted to come work for three months in Australia, not minding whether they have completed their 2-year validity working holiday visa.
Darren Spencer who is the president of WASIA is convinced that adopting a three-month visa will be invaluable in filling a significant gap in the country’s labor market.
According to him, the visa scheme will not rob Australian workers of their jobs. WA shearers will have their jobs intact all year round.
Spencer argued that having more shearers come in from the UK is only going to give the standards of WA shearers, a boost, as they will have an increased workforce.
WASIA’s choice of Britain for the visa scheme is reciprocatory
He further revealed that they chose the UK for this visa category as a way of reciprocating Britain’s three-month visa scheme which lets Australian citizens travel to the UK.
Traditionally, citizens of New Zealand take up the higher percentage of the foreign shearing workforce in Australia. However, the New Zealand shearers are demanding a 25% increase in their pay and this leaves the Aussie shearing managers wondering if it will affect the shearing pool.
Spencer added that WASIA spoke to Alannah MacTiernan, the Minister for Agriculture in WA, but he directed them to Peter Dutton, the Minister for Federal Immigration.
At the moment, WASIA is working with Rick Wilson, O’Connor MP to draw Mr. Coleman’s attention to the proposal.
The president of WA Farmers Livestock Council, Steve McGuire is convinced that WA needs to widen its contractor base. Young people are not showing interest in the industry, and WA can’t depend on New Zealand forever.
According to him, New Zealand is also challenged with a similar problem of having a few young people coming into the shearing industry in the country.
Spencer revealed that this visa scheme would be different from the one for farm workers that is getting finalized by the Federal Government.
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