The Design Institute of Australia (DIA) says it is defending Australian designers amid news that immigration agents plan to import overseas workers to fill Australia’s design industry “employment gaps”.

The proposal by immigration agents requests access to overseas designers through labour hire agreements. The DIA has strongly condemned the proposal and says that there is clear evidence that the design sector in Australia is already over-supplied with designers.

The DIA also suggest that overseas labour hire agreements will only exacerbate the significant skills surplus that is a result of a growing number of Australian design graduates.

“The supply of designers in Australia is growing at a rate that clearly exceeds the development of supporting industries and export opportunities,” said David Robertson LFDIA, an ex-DIA National President and instigator of the surveys.

”The DIA believes that overseas labour hire agreements will only exacerbate this problem, and will vigorously defend against any attempts that impinge on the welfare and livelihood of Australian designers,” Robertson said.

The news comes at a volatile time for Australian designers, says Robertson.

“The latest DIA Fees and Salary Survey of Australian designers confirms the trend in previous surveys which shows that designer salaries over the past decade have not grown at the same rate as salaries in the general community, and that under employment is also a major problem for the sector,” He said/ 

“Furthermore, the DIA notes that under the advice of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA), the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL) does not include any ANZSCO Code design disciplines.

“The DIA therefore has serious doubts about claims being put forward by immigration agents about identified shortages for design roles.”