THE South Australian Government is set to sign an agreement which could see thousands of foreign workers take up jobs in SA mines.
The SA government and Filipino Department for Labour and Employment are expected to sign a memorandum of agreement (MoAs) by June 2009 which could see up to 30,000 Filipino workers enter the Australian workforce, equipped with working visas valid until 2019.
A Spokesperson for the SA deputy premier, Kevin Foley, told MINING DAILY the agreement aims to ensure the mining sector is equipped with enough workers to stimulate the industry when the market recovers.
Critics, however, are criticising the move and say the financial crisis should put more emphasis on providing Australian workers with jobs.
The SA government said the foreign workers will not take Australian jobs off the market and claims the agreement will provide Australian industries with workers to promote expansion and growth.
“The agreement will provide a framework to allow the mining industry to recover as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “It is our number one desire to make jobs for South Australians first.”
The SA deputy premier claims the state has “a lot” of available jobs, with no population growth or ability to fill the positions. The CFMEU declined MINING DAILY’s request for comment.