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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 24409


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 6 March 2001:

(1) Under what type of labour agreement, or temporary working visa, have hotels been given permission to employ foreign hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants since 1995.

(2) In each of the years 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000:

(a) how many applicants, and from which hotels or hotel groups, did the department receive to import and employ hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants;

(b) how many applications were granted by the department for hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants to be employed by hotels or hotel groups;

(c) what were the minimum and maximum periods granted by the department to hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants to be employed by hotels or hotel groups;

(d) what were the numbers of hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants applied for to be allowed to enter Australia by each hotel and hotel groups;

(e) what were the numbers of hotel housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants eventually granted permission to enter Australia by each hotel or hotel groups;

(f) what evidence did the department seek for each hotel, or hotel group, that they had, unsuccessfully, sought to fill jobs as hotel housekeepers, cleaners and room attendants with Australian residents; and

(g) what types of evidence, and why was this evidence deemed to be satisfactory, was provided to the department that a proper process had been followed to fill these jobs as hotel housekeepers, cleaners and room attendants with Australian residents.

(3) Did the foreign hotel housekeepers, cleaners and room attendants given permission to work in Australia all come in under one category of temporary working visas “skilled class” or did some of them enter under other working visa categories, such as cultural class or international relations class.


Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Hotels have been given permission to bring to Australia non-executive staff under a temporary entry labour agreement and on temporary business (long stay) visas. A number of other people who have come to Australia on working holiday visas or on student visas may be employed by the hotel industry, but these people are not sponsored for entry by the hotel industry.

(2) (a)-(g) Statistics to this level of detail are not readily available from departmental systems. However, a check of departmental records has revealed two instances where the entry of staff of the nature of housekeepers, cleaners or room attendants has been approved:

· Under a labour agreement, an international standard holiday resort was approved to bring to Australia a limited number of Holiday Guest Facilitators between 1999 and 2001. The terms of this agreement are “commercial-in-confidence” but the Agreement was only entered into by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) and the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) on behalf of the Commonwealth once the hotel group had demonstrated; a genuine need for the workers; that entry would promote additional job opportunities for Australians; that award rates of pay and conditions would apply; that positions had been advertised in a variety of media, including major daily newspapers; and following consultation with the relevant union. The visas granted allowed stays in Australia of between 3 and 12 months.

· The Sydney Regent Hotel was approved to bring in 11 Executive Room Attendants to Australia between 1999 and 2001. This was only approved after DIMA was satisfied that the Hotel had thoroughly tested the Australian labour market (including through advertising in a major daily newspaper) without success, that the positions needed to be filled and an undertaking to meet Australian award rates of pay and conditions was supplied and the occupants of the positions were to provide training and supervision of junior staff recruited in Australia. Eight of the overseas employees were granted a visa authorising a stay of 12 months, one for a stay of six months and 2 for a stay of 3 months.

(3) All hotel staff referred to in (2) came to Australia on temporary business (long stay) subclass 457 visas.