Australia is one of the countries that have been expanding and experiencing economic growth while the rest of the world is going through recession. Businesses are booming and developments in most industries are occurring, making the Land Down Under an attractive place to go to find work and build a career in.
Because of the high demand for certain skills, employers in Australia have chronically been experiencing severe skill shortages in many occupations. Where they can’t find the right people when they need them, employers often look overseas to hire skilled and professional workers to fill those vacant positions.
The 457 visa, or the Temporary Working Visa is the most popular and most used working visa in the country. Dubbed as the king of visas, as of February of this year, there are already 107, 501 primary 457 visa foreign workers in Australia. This visa has played a crucial role in allowing industries to find suitable employees with the right skills to fill occupations that can’t be filled by Australian citizens or residents. It allows such foreign workers to work in the country for up to four years, where about 50% of such visa holders end up working in the country permanently.
Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the previous labor government noticed the increasing number of such foreign workers, prompting them to make investigations on the 457 visa program. Their inquiries led to the findings of the alleged abuses being made by employers, agents, and applicants to the system. Due to these findings, the previous government set out to make changes to the terms and conditions of the 457 visa in an attempt to improve the integrity of the system. As of July 1, 2013, the date of its implementation, changes include increased application fees, stricter requirements for employers, a school fee was added on the children of 457 visa holders who are studying in public schools, restricted sponsorships for start up businesses, stricter English requirements, and other changes.
Reports of visa fraud and abuses include that of an Albanian national who was recently sentenced to jail for 14 months due to his and his wife’s usage of multiply false identities in the application of visas, and that of Chinatown-based registered migration agent Amy Wu who plead guilty on deceiving tens of thousands of dollars from clients on services that were never delivered.
The changes, despite its main intent on helping Australian citizens find and keep jobs, have received its own set of criticisms and backlash. Minister of Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison was against the changes in the first place, stating the reports of abuses were unsubstantial claims. For Migration Council Australia chief executive Carla Wilshire, she says that the 457 visa is actually critical in keeping the country globally competitive as 4 in every 10 companies in the country actually hire foreign workers to train and develop Australian employees.
With the recent win of newly elected conservative government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, employers are hoping that he will look into the changes and relax some or most of the terms. Like a wish granted, recent news has just announced that Prime Minister Abbott is actually considering reversing the changes to the 457 visa, removing the terms that has made it more complex and expensive for employers, making it much easier and faster to fill in skill shortages in many industries.
Need some help with your visa application processing? Move Migration’s licensed migration agents can help you break down the immigration process into simple stages. Visit Move Migration office at Suite 8, 281 Pacific Highway North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia or visit http://www.movemigration.com for more information about their services.
About the Author:
Michael Ma is working as migration agent assistant at Move Migration – an immigration specialist migration agents Sydney providing visa application assistance such as the Australia partner visa and many others.