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RCSA welcomes the rebuilding of Australia's international reputation

Australia’s peak body for the recruitment and staffing industry, RCSA, supports the Federal Government’s plan to provide visa fee rebates to international students and backpackers who come to Australia in the next few months.

Under the changes, international students who arrive in the next eight weeks, and backpackers on working holiday-maker visas who arrive within the next 12 weeks, will be entitled to a fee rebate of around $600, with the cost of the scheme expected to reach $55 million.

“While this is a welcome step towards attracting international students and workers back to Australia to address the current labour shortages, this really is still only the first step,” explained RCSA CEO Charles Cameron.

“Unfortunately, all good faith went out the window in 2020 when the Government advised international students and workers that they could not remain here during the pandemic as there was no support for them.”

“I doubt the offer of a $600 rebate is going to overcome the reluctance of many migrant workers to return to Australia, when they felt unsupported when COVID first hit our shores.”

In addition to the hesitation, RCSA members, who provide recruitment and staffing services, have reported the intense backlash that they receive when posting Australian opportunities on global job boards.

“We are also now battling the perception that Australia is a “lockdown state” – an island of quarantine facilities and tough restrictions. While Australians may agree with our own Government’s responses to COVID-19, the global perception is very negative,” warned Cameron.

“If we really want to compete for the global workforce, we have to offer more to international workers.”

For instance, last year Japan, a country notorious for its reluctance to accept immigrants, announced that they would be allowing foreign nationals in certain blue-collar jobs to remain in the country indefinitely. New Zealand also announced a new residency visa for skilled migrants. Both countries did so in response to severe labour shortages they faced.

“We need to give international students and workers certainty. This is only way that we can begin to regain their trust and at the same time re-build Australia’s reputation.”

“Our inability to attract international workers will only see prolonged issues with supply chains, businesses remain closed and unable to grow, and our country to remain economically stagnate.”

“The truth is we need them, and they need assurance.”

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