Government Backflips on LinkedIn Ban for Skilled Visa LMT

Earlier this month the Australian government updated the Labour Market Testing (LMT) rules for the skilled visa program, reversing an earlier decision that previously barred employers from advertising on the LinkedIn social network.

The LMT requirements—which were instituted by the government to ensure that local Australian workers are given priority when applying for jobs—mandate that employers must demonstrate that they have advertised locally before hiring overseas workers.

Previously, this was a more challenging and time-consuming practice, however the new rules mean that a business can now satisfy its LMT requirements by advertising on LinkedIn and the government job portal website Jobactive.

The changes follows a March announcement from the Department of Home Affairs, which saw new LMT rules introduced which required evidence of two advertisements displaying national reach within the previous twelve months to be provided.

The March changes also specifically stipulated that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and general classified websites like Gumtree would not be an acceptable medium for LMT.

However, the government has subsequently elected to walk back its’ previous tough stance, announcing that LinkedIn will be removed from the Department’s LMT ban list, while the minimum LMT period will be reduced from twelve months back to six.

The Immigration spokesperson for the Opposition, Shayne Neumann, said that the move represented yet another “backflip” from the Coalition, and was proof of its “botched” approach to the skilled migration program.

“[It] confirms Labor’s long-held belief that the Turnbull Government botched their skilled migration changes and their reliance on visa levies is deeply flawed with $270 million in cuts to the Skilling Australians Fund uncovered in Turnbull’s big business Budget,” Neumann said.

“Turnbull and Dutton rushed their temporary skilled migration announcement in April 2017, didn’t undertake appropriate consultation, and were besieged by industry pointing out the unintended impacts—now local workers are paying for their failures.”

“The Turnbull Government’s stuff ups have forced them to make further skilled migration changes in the Budget—such as refund and exemption provisions—leaving $270 million less going towards skills and training of young and working class Australians,” he said.

Neumann also said that if Labor had won government then it would determine “genuine” skills needs.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, declined to provide an official comment addressing the changes, however she did acknowledge that the new rules are intended to reach a fair balance between prioritising local workers and acknowledging real-world industry recruitment practices.

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