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Visa revamp: Locals get first dibs on jobs

LOCAL workers will be first in line to win jobs under a considerable revamp of the foreign skilled workers scheme (457 visa).

The Federal governments changes to the often criticised 457 system requires employers to advertise jobs prior to filling them with migration workers.

Northern Co-operative Meat Company Chief Executive Officer, Simon Stahl said they still have a couple of remaining employees under the system.

Mr Stahl said while the change wont impact them, access to overseas labour markets when relevant is appropriate.

"Even with high unemployment in the region we still find it incredibly hard to attract skilled workers to the plant.

"If we've exhausted the local market we have to look offshore."

Federal Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash addressed concerns about the 457 visa revamp and its impacts on regional areas to the National Press Club this afternoon.

She said horticulture and agriculture industries aren't affected by the changes due to their workforce employing holiday-makers and casual.

The National Farmers Federation said the demise of the system was not disastrous for the farm sector, because it did little to facilitate farmers' access to the skills they required.

On another hand, foreign workers play a critical role in regional industries AUSVEG, Australia's leading horticultural body said, noting it's critical the rural and regional industries are not damaged by the reforms.

The number of eligible occupations for the new types of visas will be shortened by 216.

Both visas demand at least two years of relevant work experience, something not required under the 457 scheme, and the longer visa requires applicants to meet English language requirements and undergo a criminal check.

The changes will be fully implemented by 2018.

Topics:  northern rivers employment northern rivers politics visa



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