Australian Government Calls for Feedback on Tourism Jobs Market

Australia’s immigration department is calling on the tourism industry to voice its opinion on how best to lure overseas workers to areas with critical skills shortages.

As part of the national long-term tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, the department has developed a discussion paper on a proposed template labour agreement. It is now calling for feedback on what occupations are in demand and what challenges employers face in attracting and keeping workers.

A special labour agreement could be needed in tourism, the paper states, because many jobs in the sector are part-time and with a salary below the minimum $49,330 required for a worker to be sponsored.

The paper’s authors state: “Many of the occupations are experiencing strong growth and high vacancy rates which would seem to justify the need for a template labour agreement to enable access to overseas workers in occupations not available under the standard program.”

Indeed, it says there are currently 36,000 unfilled vacancies in the tourism industry and that, by 2015, there will be a need for 56,000 workers, including 26,000 skilled.

The top 10 in-demand occupations are cited as being kitchen hand, waiter, restaurant manager, chef, cook, bar attendant, housekeeper, driver, travel adviser and hotel manager.

One area for discussion, the paper suggests, could be including packaging, such as rental and food costs, into employees’ salary so as to meet the minimum sponsorship level. Another is whether there is a justifiable need for lowering the required level of proficiency in the English language with some occupations.

Comments must be submitted, to, by Friday 16th March.