As part of the Indonesian-Australian trade deal that is hoped to be signed off by the end of the year, Indonesia is pushing for its nurses and tourism workers to have better access to Australia’s labour markets, in an attempt to improve the skills of its workforce and build capacity as well as reduce tariffs and open investment.
“The tourism industry is growing rapidly and we need to have people who are well trained,” said Noke Kiroyan, president of the Indonesia Australia Business Council (IABC). “Australia is well positioned to provide that training.”
Under the 457 Visa, Indonesian nurses can already come and work in Australia, but they often find it difficult to practise due to stringent requirements. For example, foreign nurses must achieve a relatively high English language test score.
While 18 to 30 year-olds can apply for the Work and Holiday 462 visa, they need to show they have at least $5000 in their bank account and a letter of support from the Indonesian government, have completed two years of undergraduate study, speak good English and provide a chest X-ray.
The similar Working Holiday 417 visa, which is open to people from the UK, parts of Europe, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan does not include the education, language or government support requirements. Holders of the 417 visa are also eligible to apply for a second year if they have worked three months in a rural area, unlike those with a 462 visa.
Ross Taylor, from the Indonesia Institute, says the government also makes it hard for young people to come to Australia to work and travel.
Overall, if the deal comes through, it may lead to a loss of jobs and increased unemployment for Australia, but it will mean an increase in skilled labour in Indonesia, and thus contributed to a skilled workforce and a potential higher quality of life.
Globbalisation has lead to the increased flow of labour between countries. This can lead to increased tensions in the domestic economy and has recently lead to tighter restrictions on 417 visas in order to protect jobs of Australian workers. This is an example of how bilateral negotiations can have negative political effects on a government.