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A SPECIALIST integrity unit has been formed inside the Department of Immigration to deal with widespread fraud in the working holiday visa program, on which industries such as fruit growing depend.

More than 200 internet advertisements have been found offering to buy or sell documents allowing backpackers to claim they had worked in rural jobs without them leaving Sydney, and thus extend their working holiday visas. The standard fee is $400. So far, 64 visas have been cancelled over the fraud and at least 19 more are being reviewed.

One man, an Irish national, has been convicted of fraud. ”There’s been more than 100 fraudulent claims identified this financial year,” a spokeswoman for the department said. ”The answer is we don’t know [the full extent of the fraud]. At this stage it’s too early to determine and we will be looking at it over the next six months.”

The working holiday visa (subclass 417) allows people to extend their stay in Australia by a year if they can prove they have worked in a rural area for three months. Applications are lodged online but have been abused by people selling Australian business numbers linked to farms so backpackers can falsely claim they worked on farms.

”Second year visas for sale,” one ad read. ”Will email completed 1263 form and add your details to my books so you can gain second year visa with ease.”

Another ad offering similar services, posted on the Gumtree website on Saturday, had received more than 2000 hits by last night. Unlike visa scams targeting international students, mainly Indians, this fraud is used mainly by European visitors.

One backpacker told the Herald he had been offered the false documentation as soon as be arrived in Australia, by people staying at the same hostel.

”People told me about buying the documents – getting the numbers to put in,” he said. ”When I arrived here people said you can go there [to a farm] or you can buy. Everyone knows about it. It’s easy. All the people who are here know about that.”

The federal Opposition spokeswoman on immigration, Sharman Stone, said the widespread fraud reflected under-resourcing of the department.

Source  :  www.smh.com.au
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A new report has found Australia’s migration program is more effectively meeting the needs of employers with a 60 per cent increase in the number of employer-sponsored skilled migrants to Australia in 2008-09 compared with the previous year.

The Report on Migration Program 2008-09 shows that the Rudd Government’s targeted approach to overseas workers is helping to fill critical skills gaps in the healthcare, engineering, financial services and IT sectors.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that changes introduced in January including the Critical Skills List (CSL) of high value occupations and prioritising employer-sponsored or state/territory-sponsored skilled migration visa grants were having a significant impact.

Overseas workers who were sponsored by employers comprised 33 per cent of the 2008-09 skill stream compared to 22 per cent in 2007-08 and 17 per cent in 2006-07.
“A properly targeted migration program will ensure we have the right sized and appropriately skilled labour force to meet Australia’s needs now and into the future as our economy recovers and grows.”

The Government cut the 2008-09 permanent skilled migration intake in March 2009 by 14 per cent from 133 500 to 115 000 and reduced planning levels for the permanent skilled migrant intake in the overall 2009-10 migration program to 108 100 places.

“This is in direct response to the economic slowdown and represents an overall drop of almost 20 per cent on previous planning levels,” Senator Evans said.

“The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic conditions while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages such as healthcare and engineering. “The reduction is being achieved through a cutback in places in independent skilled migration rather than in the high-demand employer-sponsored category or in areas in which Australia has critical skills shortages.”

Across all permanent skilled visa categories, the top three occupations for successful applicants were accountancy (6238), computing professionals (3879) and registered nurses (3355) while the top three countries of citizenship under the skill stream were the United Kingdom (23 178), India (20 105) and China (13 927).

“Australia’s migration program is better targeting the needs of Australian employers who are still experiencing skill shortages,” Senator Evans said.

Source  :  www.manmonthly.com.au

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Bill Gates wouldn’t get a job in Australia because he has no local experience,’’ says Ailis Logan, the founder of Tribus Lingua, a consultancy assisting skilled migrants find jobs. Logan is only half joking.

She believes that Australian employers value local experience much more than their counterparts in Europe and the US.

For the many overseas professionals enticed here by the lure of a bountiful job market, the difficulty of finding a job without local experience is no joke.

What does “no local experience’’ really mean?

Are we so parochial that we’d reject Bill Gates if he sent us his resume?

Do we run our businesses in a uniquely Australian way?

Many of us will go overseas to work, valuing the career and life experience we bring back-yet we appear to view the experience that others bring here with suspicion.

Ian Little, the author of Project Australia: Land that Engineering Job in Australia, suggests our geographic isolation has contributed to our conservatism. As the senior engineering manager at engineering giant Worely Parsons, he’s hired many overseas professionals.

He believes that a lack of Australian experience is actually the biggest barrier any newcomer will face. Employers appear worried about the communication skills of skilled immigrants.

Poorly written resumes from overseas professionals may fuel employers’ doubts about immigrants’ communication skills. Little and Logan say they see many bad resumes from recent arrivals.

This makes it harder for employers to assess overseas experience.

Logan recommends that newcomers provide context around places they’ve worked, including the challenges and drivers of the businesses they’ve worked in. It can be difficult to read a resume in isolation of preconceived ideas about a nationality.

It would be naive to suggest that people never discriminate, but Little certainly doesn’t believe many Australians are inherently racist. When it comes to hiring he thinks Australian employers are just risk-averse.

“People will still encounter difficulties when they want to switch industries,’’ he says. “Employers don’t realise how tough times are, and they need to get flexible.’’

But even if everyone spoke English, misunderstandings about meanings can be common. Logan suggests our easy-going expressions can easily .

“Australians appear casual, but are not casual at all,’’ she says. “Come in for a chat’ can mean a formal interview, so you need to be prepared.’’

But perhaps there’s more going on than verbal confusion. Body language plays its part in defining meaning and each culture uses this differently.

Aparna Hebbani, an academic and researcher into intercultural communication in interviews at the University of Queensland says “non-verbals’’ such as a academic and researchercontribute to an estimated 66 per cent of meaning in social interaction.

She’s seen many cross-cultural misunderstandings in an interview. “If an Indian interviewee, for example, does not make ‘appropriate’ levels of eye contact with an Australian interviewer, they can interpret that as a lack confidence or not being truthful,’’ she says. “But the interviewee might not look into the interviewer’s eye out of respect.’’

The way different cultures see interviews may be detrimental to their chances of success. Little claims some have a “servant attitude’’ when it comes to marketing their skills.

“An employment contract is a two-way thing. I’ve not seen many overseas professionals who understand that,’’ he says. “They don’t understand that they have something to offer.’’

Confused communication aside, what are other risks in recruiting a newcomer? Logan and Little say that new arrivals need to understand Australian law, regulations and codes plus the general rules of Australian business practice. But Little suggests in engineering that employers’ perception that newcomers can’t adapt is greater than reality.

“Engineering is an applied science-the laws of science do not change,’’ he says.

In some professions the local learning curve is steeper and longer. Accounting is one example. David Smith, a former partner of accounting firm PKF and ex-president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, runs Smithink, a management consultancy advising accountants.

He sees the employers’ concern over communication skills of immigrants and their ability to understand the highly complex Australian tax system and superannuation laws as major barriers for accountants new to Australia.

Logan says overseas professionals need to understand that the structure of the Australian economy is “old-fashioned’’, with up to 70 per cent of businesses classified small-medium.

The accounting industry reflects this statistic. Smith suggests a typical small-business accounting firm will find it hard to embrace new arrivals who cannot hit the ground running.

Small firms struggle to verify skills, have limited resources for training and perhaps less patience for the newcomer under pressure.

There are other barriers that make it difficult for newcomers to find jobs. Smith and Little suggest that employers need to assess attitude when it comes to hiring overseas professionals, as this makes a big difference in how quickly people will adapt.

Little says employers’ rigid recruitment practices can prevent this. “Many employers are stuck in a 1980s way of thinking. In that decade there were lots of people to choose from and some fairly militant unionism. Employers found that if they didn’t select the right person [the union] would be likely to challenge. They needed a bullet-proof system.’’

She believes employers should build teams-instead of filling holes when they hire-matching weaknesses in skill sets with complementary strengths.

HR professionals would argue that recruitment processes have evolved. The larger firms often spend many thousands of dollars identifying what makes the company tick before writing it into recruitment practice, hoping to recruit candidates with the right attitude.

Yet the “right attitude’’ is nuanced, notoriously difficult to codify and assess from an appraisal of a resume and the more traditional interview.

Also keeping candidates at a distance are recruitment consultants and online resume screening software.

Many employers’ online careers pages do not have a contact name or number. It can be difficult for applicants to talk directly to someone with close knowledge of the core business who can give them a realistic appraisal of their fit.

Little sees many benefits for organisations willing to open their doors a little wider. While he has observed overseas engineers having a slower path to productivity than their Australian equivalents, he notes the longer term rewards of hiring them as a bonus.

“They are less likely to move on than an Australian hire and they have a great work ethic and less baggage from their background,’’ he says. “They bring new skills not available in Australia, and support our international operations with their knowledge and language skills.’’

Source : www.careerone.com.au

More Information  :  www.tribuslingua.com.au

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JobSearch is Australia’s largest free online jobs website.

 It is funded and operated by the Australian Government as a free service to assist job seekers into employment and connect employers with quality staff.

Job Services Australia providers and public employers upload their job vacancies to JobSearch and search for potentially suitable staff.

Job seekers can search for jobs via the map on the homepage by choosing their state, local area and occupation category. The advanced search function includes more detail in searching criteria.

Everyone is welcome to use JobSearch to search for vacancies. It’s free to register and take advantage of the complete range of services.

Vacancies displayed on JobSearch come from many different sources, including:                                                                   

  • public employers
  • Job Services Australia providers
  • newspapers
  • the Australian Public Service
  • the Australian Defence Force
  • the Harvest Trail.

For job seekers

JobSearch has a range of features to help you search for a job, including:

  • free registration for all Australians seeking work
  • jobs across all industries and regions of Australia
  • your own personal page, where you can create a job match profile, upload your resume and use our instant job list to find jobs based on your skills and experience
  • links to employment assistance and information for all job seekers.

For employers

JobSearch has a number of features to help you find the right person for your job, including:

  • the ability to search for staff based on criteria in your advertisement using our find staff feature
  • high visibility of your jobs – with around 1 million people visiting JobSearch each month
  • a secure personal page to manage your advertised jobs or view past jobs
  • phone help from the Employer Hotline 13 17 15 to advertise new jobs or check the status of your existing jobs.
  • http://jobsearch.gov.au

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Yes, certainly, owing to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), skilled migration numbers will be slashed in Australia’s budget year of 2009/2010. visas

The government says this measure has been taken make sure that Australian workers get preference for jobs in a period that threatens higher unemployment. Paradoxically, recent figures indicate that Aussie unemployment has actually diminished.

Still, most gurus are still predicting up to 8% unemployment during the next twelve months. But this does not mean skilled workers and professionals who see Australia as a desirable place to relocate should give up and submit to the tough conditions in their current countries.

While the government has already trimmed the number of skilled workers to be granted visas into Australia next financial year there are still 115,000 of those visas up for grabs. For the time being, occupations in the tourism, clerical and agricultural industries have been removed from the 457 visa program.

Furthermore, a higher level of ability in English language have been set. This measure has been taken to make sure that the 457 program provides the skilled workers that Australia needs most and who readily can be integrated into workplaces.

www.liveinaustralia.com

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carpenter-full
THE federal Government has cut the skilled migration intake by a further 6900 people to help protect local jobs during the economic crisis.

But it will increase the number of people allowed to migrate to Australia for family reunions, the Government said yesterday as part of Budget 2009.

In March, the Government shed 18,500 skilled migration places in response to growing unemployment, which is forecast to hit 8.25 per cent in 2009-10.

The latest cut, the second to be made this year, brings the program down to 108,100 places in 2009-10.

Overall, the Government has slashed previous planning levels by close to 20 per cent.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the cuts would not be made to professions on the critical skills shortage list such as IT.

The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic climate while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages,” Senator Evans said in a statement. The Government will provide more opportunities for family reunions by increasing the family component of the migration program by 3800 places to a total of 60,300 in 2009-10.

“This boost … will benefit Australians who seek to have their parents, partners or children join them to live here permanently,” Senator Evans said.

Overall, the migration program will total 168,700 for 2009-10.

www.news.com.au

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