Small business groups call for no quarantine for temporary visa holders

Small business groups back calls by the National Chamber of Commerce to end the quarantine on all fully vaxxed international arrivals, in a bid to address the labor shortage dragging the recovery across a multitude of industries .

Restaurant and Catering, the leading hotel association, urges the federal government to make it easier for temporary visa holders to enter the country in response to a nationwide labor shortage in the industry .

Wes Lambert, Managing Director of Restaurant and Catering, tells SmartCompany He wants to see the government add more types of jobs to the list of priority skilled occupations and allow international students to work uncapped hours in tourism and hospitality companies.

“We need to ensure that working holidaymakers, international students and skilled migrants are fully vaccinated in the country, specifically for tourism and hospitality,” Lambert said.

According to SEEK data, the number of vacancies in the hospitality industry rose from 84,378 on October 22 to 90,231 on November 2. There are currently 20,168 live listings for baristas alone.

But the shortage of workers resulting from border restrictions is not just affecting tourism and hospitality businesses, with small business associations from the Australian Hairdressing Council to the Australian Institute of Human Resources also reporting a critical shortage of staff.

Members of the Council of Business Organizations Australia (COSBOA), which is made up of more than 20 industry associations, are urging the government to allow more temporary visa holders to enter the country without having to quarantine.

Shortages of workers “at all levels”

Alexi Boyd, CEO of COSBOA, says the worker shortage is the number one issue facing members of the organization, and not just in industries where challenges are expected.

“Overall, all of our members are having issues with workers because we don’t have this influx of international students and skilled and unskilled workers,” Boyd said. SmartCompany.

She calls on the government to engage with industry groups to discuss the list of skilled migrants to ensure it is relevant to businesses at this point in the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are asking the government to have an interesting discussion with industry groups. The lists that were in place two years ago don’t really match the needs of small businesses today, ”she said.

Pressure from small businesses to end the quarantine for temporary visa holders follows calls from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to the federal government to “set a timetable for the return of all other international arrivals fully. vaccinated ”.

Andrew McKellar, chief executive of ACCI, said on Tuesday that the country’s economic recovery depends on the ability of the tourism industry, academia and other businesses facing a critical skills shortage to bounce back from the pandemic .

“As the rest of the world moves away from closed borders, we risk being left behind,” McKellar said in a statement.

Businesses urgently need the borders to reopen to fully vaccinated arrivals, he added, suggesting that few people will return to Australia if they have to undertake a quarantine.

“If students, tourists and migrants have a vaccine recognized by Australian authorities, they should be treated the same as returning Australians,” he said.

On Monday, international border restrictions were relaxed for Australian citizens and residents and New Zealand citizens. These groups can enter New South Wales and Victoria without having to quarantine themselves, if they are fully vaccinated.

From November 21, fully vaccinated Singaporeans will also be allowed to enter the country without having to quarantine themselves in New South Wales or Victoria.

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