The China and Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is one of the many mutual FTA’s which is signed by Australia with key trading partners in current times, as the partners include Korea and Singapore. The agreement would bring economic advantage to the community of Australia. ChAFTA would also build the deep existing cultural and economic relations with China that has been erected up over many years.
China is Australia’s biggest twin way business partner in terms of goods and services, and both the countries have done the business of around $160 billion in the year 2013-14 and in export of goods which was valued at $100 billion in the year 2013-14.
For the Australian industry, the investment from China is the most important driver of the activity of construction mainly in cities of Australia like Sydney. China is the biggest source of foreign students studying in Australia, which assists in attracting the investment in latest residential building, especially the high-rise apartments along with the accommodation for students. As the second biggest source of visitors to Australia, China is also the key engine of income for tourism and its related construction which also includes hotel accommodation.
According to the analysis by International Economics Centre (CIE), the monetary benefits of Australian North Asian FTAs for the country’s industry and the community from ChAFTA would be advanced output by an estimated $1 billion and many more creation of jobs with the estimation of around 538 fresh jobs being created each year for next 20 years.
The CFMEU’s usage of fear to influence the opinions typically revolves around wrong and deceptive claims. The union’s contention is that ChAFTA would lead to influx of unskilled, unqualified, underpaid building workers from China and will also invade the building sites of Australia and would also steal the jobs from Australian people is not correct.
In opposite to what the unions had said, this construction industry related 457 visa holders represent only 1% which makes around 10,660 of the total construction industry jobs of Australia.
The employers in the industry uses local skilled workers in 99.7% of construction and building job and access overseas workers only in case of shortage of skills, mainly in distant locations.
The Australia government had confirmed that under ChAFTA the present checks and the balances with regard to overseas workers those on 457 visas would stay in place. In response to the enquiries the Australian government has advised that under ChAFTA, the assessments for skills needed for the workers who seek temporary 457 visa does not change and there would be no reduction of requirement of licensing or safety standards.
The construction companies who seek to engage 457 visa workers would require to ensure that the applicants could show to the department of immigration that they have the required skills which is required to work in Australia and that includes the skill qualifications, work history and skills related to English Language.
Chinese workers would also required to meet the terms with the requirement of respective Territory and State skills including in significant safety area.