News

Foreign workers filling boom jobs

ALMOST 2500 foreign workers were brought to Queensland in the past year to fill vacancies in mining and construction.

Figures from Department of Immigration and Citizenship showed in the 12 months to February 21, a figure of 34 per cent of international workers to the state were delivered to these boom industries.

The numbers illustrate the disparity between the state's boom and bust economies, as a skills crisis grips part of the state even as more than 50,000 attended the Queensland Government's recent sessions on how to join the resources industry.

The demand for talented overseas workers is only increasing, with British workers easily most used, as the United States and India almost tie for second.

About 1360 construction workers arrived in the past 12 months on 457 or "Temporary business long stay" visas.

That is more than double the 670 construction workers that arrived the year before.

For mining, international worker numbers increased from 560 to 1180 in the same period.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union construction state secretary Michael Ravbarcor said the use of these visas was a way to "bring in foreign workers who (businesses) can exploit by paying lower wages".

"Their employer can threaten to cancel their visa and ship the 457 worker home if they bring up any concerns of safety or wage conditions," Mr Ravbar said.

He added that the Housing Industry of Australia and Master Builders Queensland - both employee groups - believed the skills shortage was exaggerated.

The immigration figures showed newly-arrived construction workers earned a total of $124,400 a year on average - an amount higher than their counterparts in other states apart from the Northern Territory.

Mine workers on a 457 visa earned a total of $131,900 on average - with only Western Australia and Northern Territory paying more.

Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland advocacy general manager Nick Behrenscor said the state needed workers because the few people who could do the job would not move to regional areas.

"They don't want to go west, they want to stay on the eastern seaboard and aren't prepared to relocate to regional Queensland," he said.

"The process is very stringent, you cannot source a 457 visa if there are people to fill the position."

He said accusations of poor pay by unions was "an absolute furphy".

As more workers were sucked into the black hole of the mining industry, he said skilled construction workers in isolated or regional areas had to be brought from elsewhere.

"If you look at the broad economy, you could argue that we are undergoing poor economic conditions which makes you think we don't need 457s," he said.

"But parts of the economy are doing very well and, accordingly, they're continuing to need skills in construction, mining and health."

Coming to the land Down Under
In the past 12 months:

  • 7380 - number of workers coming to Queensland on 457 visas in 2011/12.
  • Of those 1360 (18.4%) were for construction jobscor, another 1180 (16%) were in miningcor
  • The amount of workers on 457 visas for the two industries doubled in 12 months.
  • In total for Queensland, 1710 came from the UK
  • 740 came from the United States
  • 720 from India
  • 590 from Ireland.

Topics:  457 visas, department of immigration and citizenship



Muslim woman reveals bigotry in Bundy on national TV

Woman reveals what it's really like for a Muslim in Bundaberg

Sam Mac's verdict: what a cool school-yal

MORNING SONG: Sam Mac creates a song for the Booyal Central State School in today's Sunrise weather cross.

Sunrise pays a visit to drought-fighting kids

Whale beached in Bundaberg

ANOTHER WHALE BEACHED: The whale at Moore Park Beach. Photo: Dominic Cansdale / ABC

It is third whale to be beached near Bundaberg in two weeks

Latest deals and offers

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.

ANYTHING less than grand in a remake of Ben-Hur won't do.

Sam Mac sings a weather report for Bundaberg

MORNING SONG: Sam Mac creates a song for the Booyal Central State School in the Seven Sunrise weather cross.Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail

Live from from Booyal Central State School

Coming up on your TVs this September...

Don't miss A Place to Call Home as season four launches this September.

HERE'S a sneak peek at what's coming up on Foxtel.

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale