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Debate over labour market testing laws continues

Debate over labour market testing laws continues

Brendan O'Connor, minister for immigration and citizenship, has been accused of bending the truth at the Skilled Migration National Employer Conference in Melbourne on June 21.

He was discussing the government's proposed labour market testing laws, which have been the cause of much controversy among migration agents, business owners and industry groups.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA), for instance, released a statement earlier this month that deemed the laws "unworkable" and likely to cause more harm than good. 

According to Scott Morrison, shadow minister for immigration and citizenship, and Michaelia Cash, shadow parliamentary secretary for immigration, Mr O'Connor told those at the conference that the labour market testing laws were quite simple and just involved "putting an ad in the paper".

"That’s it. There is no other undertaking required from the employer," Mr O'Connor stated.

The Australian reports that he also said the intention of these laws is to strike the right balance between making it easy for employers to access skilled migrant workers while at the same time ensuring they invest in the local workforce.

However, when David Wilden, deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration, was questioned about Mr O'Connor's statements at Friday's senate inquiry, he contradicted the minister.

He said that in some cases "putting an ad in the paper" would be adequate, but revealed that "the way the system is going to work is yet to be determined in great detail".

Mr Wilden went on to say that Mr O'Connor's comments about the proposed labour testing laws and how they would affect those applying for 457 immigration visas were not entirely sanctioned by his office.

"I can’t speak to why the minister would have made that statement. I wasn’t aware of the statement and it wasn’t prepared by this office," said Mr Wilden.

In a joint press released, Scott Morrison and Michaelia Cash have said they are unimpressed with what they call the latest in series of untruths from Mr O'Connor, which include his infamous claim about there being "10,000 rorts" in the 457 temporary skilled worker visa program.

Their press release said the 457 bill has been drafted without consultation or a regulatory impact statement, and that it is "bad for Australia".

They are encouraging Mr O'Connor to apologise to the Australian people and "explain the lies he has been pedalling in secret to try and get support for his union bill".

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