Recent media attention continues to focus on the ongoing shortage of skilled hospitality workers as the industry grapples with the difficulty in sourcing the key positions of cooks, chefs and café and restaurant managers. With 84,300 jobs expected to be created in the sector by 2020, the issue of skilled labour shortages is likely to remain in the spotlight for quite some time.
The harsh reality of the situation is that the local Australian workforce on its own will be unable to meet this demand. What’s disappointing is the blatant falsehood being propagated in some media circles that locals are being locked out of the job market because of skilled migrants. As we all know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This kind of alarmist rhetoric is destructive and prevents considered and sensible debate on what is clearly a hot-button political issue. It’s crucial to ensure that Australia’s skilled immigration program is not clouded by such misguided opinions.
The need to ensure an adequate number of skilled migrants to help us to fill this void in the short term is paramount for the sustainability of the sector, while we continue to work with industry and governments on longer-term solutions to what is a complex problem. As always, the Association continues to offer its migration advisory service to members seeking assistance with processing visa applications.
Mark Scanlan, President
Restaurant & Catering Australia