03 October 2007

New Australian visa rules for skilled workers

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Australian companies that want to sponsor skilled workers from abroad must now do so through labour agreement arrangements under new regulations that took effect on October 1st. The aim is to create a better and quicker route for Australian visas to be granted where there is a skills shortage.

"The labour agreement provides a pathway to recruit overseas skilled workers where standard visa arrangements do not meet industry needs and access to overseas skilled workers is demonstrably in Australia's interests," said Kevin Andrews, the minister for immigration and citizenship.

The changes recognise the importance of the on-hire industry's capacity to readily supply workers to fill gaps in other businesses where an Australian worker is not available.

"Amendments to the migration regulations will assist on-hire companies to transition from standard 457 visa arrangements to the labour agreement framework, which better provides for the needs of their industry and the Australian government's strong commitment to ensuring the ongoing integrity of the 457 programme," the minister explained.

Applications for an Australian visa made on or after October 1st 2007 will be considered under the new rules. Australian visa holders on a 457 visa will not be affected while they remain on their current visa.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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