The Aussie housing sector is looking to boost affordability, to that end, they need tradies to handle housing construction and plumbing services in Newcastle and across the country. In order to meet that demand, they’re turning to foreign tradies, and are pressuring the federal government to create a new VISA to that end.
With the Australian Federal Election set for May 18, the multi-trillion housing sector is putting pressure on political parties so that they’ll develop a new kind of VISA in order to fight back a shortfall in tradies for the residential sector.
According to the Housing Industry Association’s Managing Director Graham Wolfe, the recent proposals for changes to the ‘457’ skilled working VISA won’t deal with the underlying issue regarding the shortage of skilled tradies needed for the construction of new houses and apartments in the AU.
Two years ago, former MP Malcolm Turnbull announced that he would abolish the 457 temporary skilled work VISA, which has since been unavailable for new applications.
The Labor party supported a crackdown on work visas, with Bill Shorten saying that about four of five of temporary skilled worker VISAs are granted in fields that aren’t actually suffering from a shortage of skilled workers in Australia, like plumbing services in Newcastle, and that needs to change.
Mr. Wolfe countered these claims, saying that the focus of any reforms should be on creating new VISAs for skilled workers that won’t be bound to any employers, able to act as independent trade contractors. He warns that the housing industry is more vulnerable when it comes to skill shortages than other sectors thanks to its ageing labour force, the nature of the work, as well as the constant demand for housing.
Wolfe says that the housing industry is key to the well-being of Australian society, noting that the country will need more than 2.3 million new houses by 2030 in order to keep up with the growing demand. On top of that, he reports that 2018 saw $108b worth of residential construction in the country.
He explains that the current VISA models don’t suit the housing industry, which is more reliant on independent contracting, explaining that a well-thought out and well-executed migration policy for the country, alongside a strong programme to ensure the training of future Aussie tradies will do much to ensure that Australia has the homes it needs.