THE NEWS WRAP: Australia to fast-track visas for US tradespeople

The Federal Government has announced it will fast-track the assessment process for skilled US workers coming to Australia.


Under the agreement, US tradespeople will able to complete a skills assessment before coming here. It will mean faster processing times for 457 visa applicants and better job security.


The changes are designed to deal with the skills shortage in the construction and resources industries.


Jetstar faces fine over pilot pay


Qantas offshoot Jetstar could face hefty fines if allegations are proved that it hired trainee pilots from New Zealand on individual contracts but did not pay them superannuation and charged them for training in Australia.


The Fair Work Ombudsman launched legal action yesterday against Australian companies Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd and Jetstar Group Pty Ltd, and New Zealand entity Jetstar Airways Limited.


Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson alleges Jetstar Airways Limited breached workplace laws when it hired the trainee pilots on individual contracts in New Zealand, when it was foreseeable they would work predominantly in Australia.


Rates tipped to remain on hold


Economists are not expecting the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates today, despite a low inflation rate creating favourable conditions.


According to the monthly TD Securities-Melbourne Institute Inflation Gauge, the annual rate of inflation has reached a two-year low of just 1.8%.


However, none of the 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting the RBA to cut the official cash rate when the board meets later today.



The Australian dollar has risen after the release of strong manufacturing data in the US.


At 6.30am, the local unit was trading at 104.27 US cents, up from 104.07 cents yesterday.


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