Explain what Subclass 457 visas are all about.

Explain what Subclass 457 visas are all about.

Explain what Subclass 457 visas are all about.

Topic: Explain what Subclass 457 visas are all about.

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If you were in Australia at the time of the Federal election in November, 2007 when the Australian Labour Party defeated the Liberal/National Coalition parties, you will know that industrial relations was one of the most argued-about issues between the main parties. For the incoming ALP government, the transition from the old Liberal/ National Coalition policies and laws was slow but from the beginning of 2010 it was largely in place. During the 2010 election campaign, issues around the degree to which the Coalition would repeal the ALP legislation received considerable attention. This became irrelevant after the knife-edge ALP victory. As at May 2011, that government is still in power.

A major aim for your lecturers will be helping you to deal with this complexity and to understand why the ALP government was attempting to bring about change. Another aim will be to help you deal with the ways Industrial Relations is set apart from other business subjects. We assume that many students who study the subject will be looking forward to careers in business – in management, human resource management, economics and the like. In the past, these students have been surprised that Industrial Relations is closely tied to major political issues, to major sets of ideas about the nature of Australian society and to claims that industrial relations has major implications for the quality of Australia’s economic life. Our aim will be to help you understand these relationships – economics, politics, history, sociology, and industrial relations intertwined as major elements in our study. Put another way, industrial relations is not just about a set of rules that can be looked up and easily applied  by an employer to employees to show how much they will be paid and how many holidays they might take. Our studies of Industrial Relations require a broader view than that.

Another aim in your learning process will be to help you to understand how today’s industrial relations will be poorly understood if you have no idea of its past. Given that, in 2011, we will be learning about the ways in which parts of the old award system will continue to apply and other parts will change, a very strong understanding of how we arrived at our current arrangements is essential. We will spend considerable time demonstrating the flow of ideas, policies, laws, and theories that have, over time, shaped our understanding of industrial relations.

We turn to a final complication. Australia has, in the past, had systems of industrial relations at both the federal and state level. Changes towards a single national system have already begun and, in any event, we will concentrate on the Federal system. It is impossible to avoid considering the whole picture on occasions.

Finally, do not be frightened by this talk of complexity. Our aim is to help you to understand the relationships between the forces that drive the employment relationship inAustralia. Soon, most of you will be managers, and whether you are working in Australia or elsewhere, knowing about basic ideas and practices affecting workplace arrangements will be important knowledge. Most of you will also be employees and applying that knowledge from your own perspective may be even more important. Not everyone in workplaces plays by the rules and what you learn in this subject may help you to protect yourself one day.

Write a well argued response to an unseen examination question on the topic of conflict including its relationships with the frameworks referred to in Learning Objective 2 and changes in the significance of conflict over time as referred to in Learning Objective 3.

Write a well researched, well argued essay on the role of Subclass 457 visas within the context of the Australian labour market and industrial relations in particular.

The task is connected with several topics in the syllabus but most particularly with the roles of government in industrial relations. This lecture topic is relatively late in the semester but it covers an area that is not dealt with in detail in lectures. It also has strong connections with Graduate Capabilities 3, 4, 5 and 7 as set out above.

In its concern with the roles of government, the topic makes clear that the government’s interest in industrial relations is expressed not just through specific legislation such as the Fair Work legislation but also becomes clear in a range of other policy areas that have industrial relations implications. The particular area here is immigration law and policy. You will need to consult the relevant Australian government website to learn about visa rules in Australia.

Your task is to explain what Subclass 457 visas are all about. Explain why they were introduced. Has their role changed? Connect them to the state of the Australian labour market and the economy. What kinds of industries are particularly affected by 457 visas? Have the visas been successful in their aims? What problems have arisen in connection with their implementation? What are the likely views of stakeholders such as unions, governments and employers on the operation of 457 visas. Use the Factiva database to locate press stories on the problems faced with the device. Outline the roles of bodies such as Fair Work Australia and the Workplace Ombudsman in investigating some of the problems. What moral/ethical issues have arisen in connection with such problems?

1.       Discuss the role and significance of conflict in Australian employment relationships both historically and currently.

2.       Relate the content of the subject to major theoretical, philosophical and ideological frameworks dealing with work, society and political life in Australia.

3.       Evaluate the importance of historical context and development in shaping current theory, practice, policy and, also, in influencing future trends.

4.       Demonstrate understanding of the ways IR knowledge is formed, disseminated, researched and evaluated inAustralia.

5.       Relate Australian IR to the constitutional and legal frameworks governing employment inAustraliaand explain the major mechanisms governing remuneration and conditions of employment of Australian workers – the common law, awards, collective agreements and Australian Workplace Agreements.

6.       Discuss the major stakeholders in Australian IR – employees, unions, employer groups, political parties and governments – and explain their relationships within the IR system emerging under the Rudd government.

7.       Outline the roles of the major institutions involved in the working out of IR in Australia – especially the work of Fair Work Australia.