Rex says the tightening of visas has “caused havoc on Australian airlines”, with a shortage of pilots leading to service cancellations and major disruptions.
Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton this week announced a relaxation of visa requirements, allowing foreign pilots to work in Australia for two years, however, Rex says it doesn’t go far enough to fill gaping holes in the workforce.
“No experienced commercial pilot is prepared to relocate themselves and their families to Australia, with the expectation of having to relocate again after only two years,” Rex CEO Neville Howell said.
“The tighter regulations enacted in April of this year have caused havoc on Australian airlines, with Qantas announcing a dozen permanent cancellations to their regional services due to a critical shortage of pilots. Most airlines, including Rex, have experienced a doubling of cancellation rates in the past six months, for the same reason.”
“It is a total mystery why Australia would choose to deter highly trained and scarce professionals like commercial pilots, causing major disruptions to the travelling public in the process.”
Rex is calling for the government to urgently restore the provisions available under the 457 visa scheme prior to 18 April 2017, opening up a pathway to permanent residency for eligible pilots.
Rex, which has a pilot academy based in Wagga, has had to supplement its local pipeline of graduates with recruitment drives in the UK, South Africa and USA over the years to meet demand.
“Rex speaks with good authority when we say that the need for good experienced pilots cannot be met locally,” Mr Howell said.