About 500 fast food workers, currently granted stay in Australia through the 457 visa scheme, will have to leave the country, as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced changes to the scheme, banning fast food chains from bringing foreign workers to the country.
The change was announced by Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, who expressed his intention to terminate the fast food industry labour agreement entered into by the Gillard government in 2012.
Under that agreement, outlets such as McDonald’s, KFC, Hungry Jack’s and other establishments have been acting as sponsors for foreign workers who arrive in Australia, along with their families. Designed to address a shortage of workers qualified to do particular jobs and thus fill vacancies that could not be filled by Australian workers, the four-year business visa has been one of the key factors affecting both migration and employment.
Currently 95,758 people are in Australia on a 457 visa, of which 500 are working in the fast food sector, which, according to some researchers, is abusing the 457 visa scheme.
“The Turnbull government is committed to ensuring that career pathways are available for young Australians,” said Mr Dutton, explaining his decision to ban fast food chains from using the 457 visa scheme, as a way for young Australian workers to “be given priority”.
Under the new regulation, those fast food workers on the 457 visa should either leave Australia once their visa expires, or transition to another type of visa.