Home Outsourcing Group calls for transparency in filling low-level IT jobs

Group calls for transparency in filling low-level IT jobs

A group that represents IT professionals has criticised the Australian Government for "tinkering around the edges" with the skilled migration visa policy, which it says "is not a satisfactory response to the number of workers from overseas that are being bought in to fill low-level IT jobs in Australia".

The IT Professionals Association said that the changes did not solve the primary problem faced by local IT professionals: getting a start in the IT industry.

The group said after the adjustments made earlier this year, the minor shuffling earlier this month meant that effectively there had been no change in the skilled visa system at all.

"Small, medium and large employers of IT staff are still able to access overseas labour - even low-level IT jobs - and save money on wages," the ITPA said.

"Traditional entry-level positions such as IT support, systems administration and software and system testing are still easily filled by international workers, many of whom are prepared to work for lower than market rate wages."

The organisation questioned whether the government was seriously telling employers that they could not find locals to fill positions such as ICT customer support officers or software testers.

"Without significant change to the current system - even in its refreshed format - we fear for a future where all IT employees are recruited from overseas because there is no workforce being created locally," the ITPA said.

"That is not good for local industry in the long-term and it is not good for the broader economy because of lost wages, income tax and retail spending."

It said that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection should make applications for skilled immigration public so that local candidates could apply for the same positions.

"ITPA believes that there should be complete transparency on all skilled IT visas granted. There should be an independent verification system (ITPA is keen to be closely involved) that confirms the jobs being filled by skilled work visa applicants are indeed beyond the skills pool that exists in Australia," the organisation said.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.