Qantas steers around 457 visa crackdown with deal for overseas pilots

fly_tornado

Well-Known Member
#1
Qantas steers around 457 visa crackdown with deal for overseas pilots


Qantas is undertaking one of the biggest pilot training programs in its history.

by David Marin-Guzman

Qantas has struck an agreement with the Turnbull government to get around new restrictions on skilled visa workers and recruit overseas pilots for long-term stays.

The labour agreement granted last month allows the airline's regional arm, QantasLink, to bring 76 pilots and instructors into the country for up to four years, avoiding new two-year restrictions that block permanent residency.

Qantas is the most high-profile company to be granted a labour agreement this year, in what is an emerging tool for employers to address the government's crackdown on the skilled visa system.

The airline, which has 3500 pilots in total, is going through one of the biggest pilot training programs in its history, with plans to train 100 pilots a year in a new centre to open in 2019.


The pending introduction of 14 Dreamliners has meant Qantas needs to train pilots to move up the ranks, to replace those it has promoted to fly the new aircraft.


However, the airline has struggled to recruit enough instructors and believes two-year visa restrictions on overseas pilots, which came into full effect in March, are globally uncompetitive.

The labour agreement will allow it to bring in overseas pilot instructors, as well as pilots for low-level propeller aircraft, with the intake to be renegotiated after the first year.

While their visa stay will be limited to four years, the workers will be cleared for a pathway to permanent residency after that period.

A Qantas spokesperson said: "Our focus has always been to recruit Australian-based pilots and that hasn't changed.


"This agreement allows us to temporarily bring in a limited number of simulator instructors and experienced pilots from overseas to support one of the biggest training programs we have done in our history."

Industry deals
Labour agreements date back to 1989, but have attracted renewed interest after the Turnbull government restricted permanent residency pathways for skilled visa workers, scrapped a range of eligible occupations and introduced dozens of business prerequisites.

Other companies granted labour agreements this year include Inpex Australia, which runs the Ichthys LNG project, beef exporter Teys Australia and Sydney harbour fine-dining restaurant Aqua Dining.


Ernst & Young's global immigration head, Wayne Parcell, said his firm has seen an increase in inquiries from employers about labour agreements, particularly for airline services and the regional health sector.

"They really provide the only pathway to loosening the criteria that people have to sponsor people who are not on one of those designated lists or are in occupations that don't quite fit," he said.

'No easy pathway'
Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Mike Pezzullo told a Senate estimates hearing in May that labour agreements were a "better targeted measure" to address company-specific requirements for skilled workers.


"There is no reason for anyone to be devastated about anything," he said in response to a backlash to the visa changes. "They can engage with us on a labour agreement, they can engage with us on any number of alternative pathways."

However, Mr Parcell said his understanding was the department did not see such agreements as its "favoured option", as it viewed them as a "regulation breaker".

Information requirements for the agreements were also "incredibly intensive", with documents needing to demonstrate economic benefit, labour market testing, skill and salary levels.

"It's not an easy pathway by any means," he said. "You won't be looking at it for low-paid, low-skilled occupations because of the high level of sensitivity [surrounding such agreements]."

Qantas strikes deal to relax visa restrictions for overseas pilots
 

facthunter

First Class Member
First Class Member
#2
With the world demand they will have to trade on the fact they can emigrate to Australia and be resident here. Same as most of the Business Colleges did to line their pockets by getting around the normal immigration rules as the main motivator. Qantas could have easily anticipated this need.
What about our OWN pilots and their aspirations? On past experience it will be to force down wages like they did with overseas servicing prior to sacking most of their maintenance people. Lets open the CEO position to a 457 exemption and save about 18 million. in one fell sweep/ swop/ swoop or whatever it is... How long ago was it that the Paddy wanted a government guarantee on Qantas borrowings, no doubt in expectation of government favours for the union busting world wide cessation of flying HE called on , leaving everyone stranded and losing Qantas a lot of loyalty. Nev
 

ISA+

New Member
#3
With the world demand they will have to trade on the fact they can emigrate to Australia and be resident here. Same as most of the Business Colleges did to line their pockets by getting around the normal immigration rules as the main motivator. Qantas could have easily anticipated this need.
What about our OWN pilots and their aspirations? On past experience it will be to force down wages like they did with overseas servicing prior to sacking most of their maintenance people. Lets open the CEO position to a 457 exemption and save about 18 million. in one fell sweep/ swop/ swoop or whatever it is... How long ago was it that the Paddy wanted a government guarantee on Qantas borrowings, no doubt in expectation of government favours for the union busting world wide cessation of flying HE called on , leaving everyone stranded and losing Qantas a lot of loyalty. Nev

Well said With our grubby Govt in bed wth big business like the SkyGods (QF) this is a sad day for Australian commercial aviation!
 

Bernie Knight

Well-Known Member
#6
I'm just little confused here with this 'bring them in approach'...:no:

I see so many very experienced - high hour - young pilots working trying to get a job in our Australian industry.

I maybe wrong, but they seem to be over looked or not even given the opportunity.

1000 plus hours then 300 plus hours in twins and they are often told to get more experience. They hang around flying schools, adventure flight companies building hours.

I bet we all know the kid at our local airfield trying to get into the airline world.
 
#10
For too long the grubby majors have been able to pick & chose from a well supplied stock of GA pilots & Defence force personnel, transit forward the last ten years or so with the impact CASA has had on unsustainable regulations designed to destroy GA with zero vision and the fact that short term gain/profits from the grubby majors with major reductions in local workforce has left us with today's outcome, an industry now in an almost irreversible decline the likes of we have never witnessed since the Wright Bros first left the ground! RIP a once great nation of vision & prosperity!
 
#11
Here in the response from the pilot’s union.
Dear Members,

As you will have seen on Monday, Qantas announced the employment of Simulator Instructors into the Qantas Group and pilots into QantasLink.

AIPA has released the following points to the press and will continue to object to this abuse of the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visas:

1. Successive Governments since 2011 have been aware of the impending pilot shortage noting a Senate Recommendation to the then Gillard Government, “that the Government require the Productivity Commission or another suitable body to undertake a review of the current and future supply of pilots in Australia, with particular reference to the general aviation and cadet training pathways, and HECS HELP and VET FEE-HELP arrangements.”

2. Every airline and aviation business in Australia would be aware of warnings of impending pilot shortages widely published by the aircraft manufacturers and ICAO.

3. If there is a real shortage, about which AIPA has serious doubts, it has come about because the aviation employers have sat on their hands and done nothing to address the impending supply-side problem. Collectively, they have made aviation a relatively unattractive career.

4. The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge, has stated: “The Labour Agreement programme is designed to enable approved business to sponsor skilled overseas workers when there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and standard skilled visa programs are not available.” AIPA contends that Qantas’ own submission which stated: “Although there are suitable candidates within Australia (and we are currently recruiting) there are not enough candidates to meet our immediate and expected needs and flying standards”; is little more than a smoke screen to ensure Qantas is not subject to supply-side wage pressure.

5. AIPA considers this TSS visa approach by Qantas to be an abuse of process, designed to substitute Commonwealth benefits as inducements to employ people on terms and conditions that apparently have otherwise proved to be unattractive and inadequate to Australian pilots.

6. AIPA calls on the Department of Home Affairs to produce the evidence used to assess the purported skill shortage. In the absence of contrary evidence, AIPA rejects the assertion that there are insufficient numbers of capable Australian candidates.

7. Government policy strongly states the need to make genuine efforts to recruit Australians in the occupations and at the locations covered by the proposed labour agreement during the previous 12 month period. The evidence required by the Department to satisfy Labour Market Testing does not appear to include any demonstration that the terms and conditions on offer are competitive. Qantas are offering starting salaries of $65k to pilots expected to spend up to $150k for their training. The average salary for a bus driver is $69,717 per year in Sydney.

8. Australia must guard against the experience in the United States where pay rates prevented pilots residing in their city of employment. This was highlighted by the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air Q400 (Continental 3407) near Buffalo, N.Y. It was reported the 24-year-old copilot’s cross-country commute from the Seattle-area home she shared with her family to her Newark Airport home base that morning was a contributing factor to the accident. Her annual salary at the time was $16,000 a year and this led to a U.S. Senate inquiry and major changes to operator rules.

9. In a world market that has pilot supply issues, the question will be why Qantas needs Sim Instructors to carry out the duties currently performed by Training Captains and what will be the quality of candidates for both Pilots and Sim Instructors at the rates being offered.

10. Furthermore, AIPA questions whether Qantas has sufficient resources and commitment to ensure that the foreign pilots are sufficiently trained in the complexities of Australia’s new regulations to ensure that they can impart the required knowledge to future pilot candidates.

AIPA’s Press Release went out on Monday and you may have seen some of the follow up articles.
 
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