09 July 2008

Immigration Minister appoints advisory panel for changes to 457 visa program

Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans announced yesterday the Government will have an advisory board to propose changes and improvements to Australia’s temporary skilled (457) migration program.

The temporary 457 visa program is the most commonly used program for employers to hire overseas workers for a temporary period of time.  The purpose of this visa for Australia is to meet the needs of skills shortages, particularly in regional Australia.

The temporary 457 visa program is currently under review by an industrial relations expert Barbara Deegan because unions are concerned overseas workers on a 457 visa are being exploited by employers.  Ms Deegan released the first issues paper yesterday. 

The consultative panel will consist of representatives of the New South Wales, Victorian, and Western Australian state governments, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, Business Council of Australia, Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Minerals Council of Australia. 

The council will advise on issues pertaining to 457 visa migration policy changes and recommendations from Ms Deegan’s review. 

The Government is also making improvements to its working holiday visa to fill the needs of skills shortages in regional Australia.  Last week, it was announced that backpackers on a working holiday to Australia can apply for a second visa if they have worked in the construction or farming industry for at least three months in regional Australia. 

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

Young people who want to work in Australia can apply online for an Australia Working Holiday Visa with the Australian Visa Bureau.

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