Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘travel

Skilled Migration, Local Experience

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Australia recently revamped our General Skilled Migration programme.  Some occupations disappeared off the lists, some were redefined, new ones appeared.

There are several lists, these two seem to be the current ones!

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/_pdf/sol-schedule3.pdf 

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/_pdf/sol-schedule4.pdf

It works like this.  People apply to come to Australia on the basis of their qualifications in a trade or profession that we are short of.  Sounds reasonable.  It can take them up to three years to actually get through the visa application process.   There seem to be some strange regulations, such as if they are single when they apply, they must stay single until they enter Australia, so effectively we have put their lives on hold.

The biggest problem is once they get here, employers won’t give them a job, because they have “no local experience“.  Here is another interesting article in The Australian about no local experience.  The skilled migration programme doesn’t actually find jobs for these people, they are on their own.

So here is the situation in a nutshell.  Government runs the migration programme based on analysed demand for certain skills.  Employers, who presumably need these skills, then won’t employ the very people who come here on the basis their skills are needed.

This is nothing short of ridiculous.  We have highly qualified psychologists and chemists driving taxis.  A personal friend of mine arrived with a Master’s degree and ended up being a credit controller for a few years. 

When I arrived in Australia, I had no local experience either, yet I had a job the same day I decided to stay here.  That was back in 1974.  Things were different then.  Also, I didn’t have too much of an accent, I looked “the same” and my culture wasn’t that dramatically different and I didn’t need a visa.  I just stayed.  I was allowed.

Even those who were initially migrants themselves seem reluctant to hire newer migrants. 

Get over it!  At the moment it is like we are bringing people here under false pretences.  They apply for migration on the basis we, as a country, have said we need people in their occupation.  They get here and we won’t hire them? 

Give people a chance.  It isn’t just the skilled migrants.  Humanitarian visa people fair even worse.  They find it even harder to become employed: often their English may not be as proficient as a skilled migrant for instance, or they do not have the education a skilled migrant has.  So we won’t give them a job, then the rank and file “aussies” complain they are draining the public purse.  NOT BY CHOICE, I can assure you.

Employers, take your blinkers off.  Give these people a chance.  Implement a longer trial period if you like, but stop using “no local experience” as an excuse.  They have to get some, what makes you so precious as a company that you have to wait until someone else gives them local experience?

Ronald MacDonald, gumboots and broccoli have nothing in common, yet all three are part of life in Australia.  So are our migrants: many of US are migrants.  We arrived with no local experience either.

I would like to see the government more strongly encourage employers to stop using this “no local experience” discrimination.  For it is a form of discrimination. 

Have you rejected a migrant for a job lately?  Did you use no local experience as a reason?  Why?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

May 14, 2011 at 7:52 am

Airport Security contradictions

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I was not at all surprised to read this article today: in fact I had been discussing something along these lines over the weekend.

I bought an airline ticket over the web. I checked in on the web.  Not once, anywhere, was I asked for identification.  Realistically, I could have been anyone.

We have these wonderful new machines to scan travellers, yet we don’t check their identity?  Something, somewhere, just doesn’t make sense. 

Yes, I know, I used my credit card to buy my ticket.  So?  There is no such thing as credit card fraud?  When did that miraculously happen?

Personally, I’d rather know that someone in authority actually had checked WHO was on my flight.

Not to mention the “I am so special” passenger in front of me today who didn’t want to follow civil aviation regulations and stow his bag as required. Row 1 of the plane – so no “seat in front of you” for him.  Just who did he think he was?  First he argued with the cabin crew before takeoff, then prior to landing he shoved his bag under his seat, which is where MY bags were correctly stowed.  He pushed my stuff out from where it should have been.  Jetstar, take note: watch your passengers as they shouldn’t be allowed to inconvenience other passengers.  Not only that, stuff fell out of his bag and rolled backwards down the plane, including Lynx deodorant – I hope it wasn’t an aerosol!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

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Back to how it was?

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Flying between Australia and New Zealand was once a bit like a domestic route.  When I first arrived in Australia from New Zealand, I didn’t even have a passport.  It wasn’t needed.

Today I ran across this article in The Age discussing progress on plans to return to the “old days”, or something similar.  Seems this has been on someone’s drawing board since 2009.  I hadn’t heard anything about it before today, but perhaps I just missed it, despite the fact both countries are close to my heart.

It would be nice to dash across the ditch with much cheaper airfares: the suggestion is 30% cheaper.  It seems the problem is not enough domestic gates at our airports.  It is all a bit confusing.  It appears not all of the airline industry agrees with the proposal.  Our change in Prime Minister seems to have impacted the plans as well.

I think it would be good for the tourism industries of both countries if it could be achieved, but of course a lack of physical gates to depart and arrive would be a bit of a problem.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more coverage of this proposal. Or did I just miss the reports?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

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Be careful where you give birth!

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This article is not a concern for me or my family personally.  We are not going to have any more children and all the children we do have, have citizenship of one country or another.  Interestingly, my daughter is entitled to New Zealand citizenship by descent, but not my son – New Zealand’s laws changed between their births!

I wasn’t quite sure whether to put this entry here or on my other site – it really is a bit of both.  While my personal site concentrates on my own personal visa battle, I have commented several times that we need to change the way we handle the question of immigration, partner visas in particular because that is currently the area I know most about, although I know a reasonable amount about protection visas as well!

The article linked to above caught my eye because in the cases discussed we are not talking specifically about people marrying across borders (although indirectly we are) or refugees: we are talking about quite simply happy couples having much loved children.  Children, who because of different laws in different countries around the world, end up stateless.

…Mark Manly, head of the statelessness unit at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said that gaps between national citizenship laws have put high-flying professionals around the globe in the same boat as migrants and refugees when it comes to getting passports for their kids.

“Far more people live outside their country of nationality than before, and there are more children born to parents of different countries,” he said. “We have a lot of situations where the children are not acquiring any nationality at all.”

One child in the article has a Chinese mother, Canadian father, was born in Belgium and after considerable stress for the parents, has now been granted Irish citizenship based on his grandfather’s nationality.  The father is quoted in the article, “When people think of refugees and stateless people they don’t think of Western, educated professionals with an office job.”

There is an international covenant that covers this sort of problem, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, however it only has 37 signatory countries.  We have a long way to go.

This article supports what I have said before: the world is now a much more mobile place.  The various countries need to deal with this appropriately.

The article doesn’t address Australia specifically, but a quick look at the DIAC web site shows that clearly it could be a problem for foreigners residing here too, if they happen to come from a country where it is difficult or impossible to obtain citizenship by descent for their children.

Australian citizen by birth

Whether you are an Australian citizen by birth depends on the date of your birth.

Most children born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.

Children born after that date are only Australian citizens if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia.

Australia is having an each way bet – let’s hope if you give birth to a stateless child in Australia, you don’t want to travel for the first 10 years of that child’s life!  I need to cross-check the requirements of the Hague Convention, as I am sure it mentions statelessness too.  So many conventions, so little time!

What about if you go overseas and have a child?  Well, the waters get a bit mukier:

Child born overseas to an Australian citizen

Commonly, if you were born overseas after 26 January 1949 to an Australian citizen parent, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by descent.

If your parent became an Australian citizen by descent, he or she must have been present in Australia for periods totalling two years at some time in their life.

If you were born outside Australia or New Guinea before 26 January 1949 you may also be eligible for Australian citizenship by descent if at least one of your parents became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949.

Good grief – do they literally mean ON 26 January 1949 and no other date?  Amazing.  What does “may be eligible” actually mean?

So it seems that while Australians are not specifically mentioned in The Age article, yes, there could be difficulties. 

I dare not venture into the topic of Australian Citizenship by adoption, I have a feeling that would be way too complicated for today!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

Scanners = child porn?

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A little dramatic?  Not according to one mother in the USA.

The scanner debate in the USA continues to heat up as reported in The Australian today.  Search YouTube and there is an abundance of anger and fear about not only the scanners, but the “enhanced” pat-downs.

This woman was very (and I believe very rightly) perturbed when her 12 year-old daughter was put through the scanner.  Watching this YouTube video, I learnt more about the technology I didn’t know.  It is disturbing.  The TSA are in a locked room until the images are deleted.  So in other words, their behaviour while in that room is hidden – or are the TSA agents also monitored?  The whole thing starts to become rather scary if you think too much about it.

Yesterday I asked the question about safety.  The above linked article from The Australian reports several people are asking the same questions:

Some opponents of the scanners claim they pose a health risk, despite checks carried out by the Food and Drug Administration and Johns Hopkins University.

They point to a letter from four scientists at the University of California, who wrote to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy expressing “serious concerns about the potential health risks” and calling for a new “independent evaluation”.

While we in Australia may look on and think “only in America”, how long before we have to submit Australians to the same procedures in order to fly a plane into the USA?  I recall going to the USA shortly after 9/11.  I left from Melbourne Airport.  I had to go through additional American security at the gate before boarding.  While that was dropped some time later, don’t be surprised if something similar is on the horizon.

Don’t think I’ll be flying to the USA again any time soon.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

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“Safe for everyday use”? So was asbestos once…….

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I am revisiting my earlier entry about airport passenger security, simply because of the last line of an article in today’s press.

TSA chief John Pistole insists that there is no danger from radiation in the scans and that intensive searches are necessary to prevent increasingly imaginative bombers from boarding planes.

“We want to work with industry to make sure we have the safest machines available. That is the bottom line. They are safe for everyday use,” he told MSNBC television

Really?  And we know this because?  I am old enough to remember many other things that were initially considered “safe” and subsequently found not to be so.  Here’s a few high profile examples!

Anyone heard of cigarettes?  I thought so.  There used to be at least one ad on TV promoting smoking as something to cure that nagging cough.  How about “More doctors smoke Camels”?  They could have at least picked a decent brand!

Thalidomide?  Resulted in over 10,000 human birth defects.

Asbestos?  Once widely used, now a known danger!

Xrays – we are warned not to have too many a year.  Radiologists have to monitor their exposure.  Why?

We have only JUST started introducing these machines.  But we are suddenly 100% sure they are “safe for everyday use”?  Why am I sceptical?

What about very frequent fliers?  What about cabin crew and pilots? Are these safe twice a day? Twice a day once every six months? Twice a day four days in a row? Once a week?  I’d like to see some controlled testing, thanks, before I go floating through one too often.

Are they as safe for developing bodies, such as children or unborn babies?  What about women who may not yet know they are pregnant?

Are we going to see an increase in some form of cancer in 20 or 30 years time?  An increase in birth defects perhaps?

Is anyone asking, or more importantly answering, these questions?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Airport security – where DO we draw the line?

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This is an interesting problem. In case you can’t be bothered clicking on that link, a woman claims she was asked to remove and show her breast prosthesis during an “enhanced” pat-down.  The article explains an “enhanced” pat-down includes a “frisk” of one’s private parts.

On the face of it, I can understand we need security measures to take into account any prosthesis a passenger may have.  After all, should one be of an inclination to do so, one could hide all sorts of things in a prosthetic leg, arm or breast.  However, perhaps we can do it a little more discretely and with some compassion for the person.

This whole “enhanced” thing seems to be creating a bit of a stir.  Let’s look at another report, which has resulted in legal action.

“As the TSA agent was frisking plaintiff, the agent pulled the plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing plaintiffs’ breasts to everyone in the area,” the lawsuit said.

This was during “extended search procedures”.  Enhanced, extended – whatever!  She was 23 – I’m sure the TSA agent would not have been as keen to pull open my blouse (age has some benefits, I see).

Both of the above situations were in the USA, but how long before Australia follows the leader?  Besides, airline security really is an international responsibility these days – can we have different policies and procedures in different countries and still have effective security?

While no, I do not want to be in a plane that explodes half way across the Atlantic or the Pacific and yes, I do expect our governments to provide suitable security measures to prevent such an event, I do not expect to be embarrassed or humiliated during a screening process.  Surely frisking of private parts can be reserved for those where a real suspicion exists (based on initial investigations of a less intrusive nature), not just for the average traveller.  Is there any age limit on this particular type of frisking is one question that springs to mind.  What about children travelling unaccompanied?  Are they to be subjected to this?

Where do we draw the line?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if at some point a class action was launched in relation to airport security based on civil rights enshrined in the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights.  That covenant protects the individual, for example: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.”  Being picked out at random for an extended or enhanced (take your pick) search is surely arbitrary?  It is definitely interference with one’s privacy, although it could be argued not unlawful interference as the search is “required” by law.

Where do we draw the line?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 21, 2010 at 1:35 am