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Cheap foreign worker plan

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A new federal government plan will allow employers to hire foreign workers at a lower pay rate in a bid to fill dangerous labour shortages.

The Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) allows employers in certain sectors to seek lower pay rates and English language requirements for foreign workers who can meet labour shortages.

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Foreign workers must have at least three years of relevant experience, and employers must prove that a labour shortage has given rise to the need for migrant workers.

A report by The Australian alleges overseas workers will be paid up to 10 per cent below the usual rate of 457 skilled workers visas, a move that is reportedly flaming tensions with unions.

According to the report, new migration agreement will be first applied to Darwin as workers leave their jobs for better pay at a new $34 million gas project outside of the city.

ACTU president Ged Kearney expressed concern over the new agreement, saying it would “totally undermine” local workers.

The DAMA draft report says the agreement will ensure that Australians are recruited “as a first priority” and has strategies to to “facilitate the agreement and retention of Australian workers”.

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