12 November 2012

KPMG highlights need for 457 visa program in Australia

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KPMG has said in its fourth annual Skilled Migration Survey that the Australian workforce has benefitted greatly from the 457 visa program and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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KMPG, one of the largest professional services firm in the world, says Australia will have a need for foreign skilled labour in coming years.

KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in the world, recently published its Skilled Migration Survey which surveys Australian employers' satisfaction with governmental efforts to provide the workforce with sufficient skilled workers.

The 457 visa program allows Australian employers to temporarily hire foreign skilled workers if they cannot find the required skills in the domestic labour market. The program has its critics but KMPG's survey found 90% of respondents said they were able to sponsor the staff they needed under the program.

"The 457 temporary visa program and other skilled immigration programs represent attempts by the government to deal with ongoing skills shortages and our survey finds Australia organisations are generally satisfied with the government response," said a KPMG spokesperson.

However, as many as 60% said there was a significant skills shortage which the 457 visa program was by definition not suitable to address. While the majority of respondents reported less than 5% of their workforce is employed on a 457 visa, the main reason for recruiting overseas was a perceived lack of skills available in the domestic workforce.

The survey shows the program has worked effectively while Australian economic conditions have been favourable - particularly with dire conditions in Europe. Indeed, the survey shows an almost 75% increase in Irish applications due to their economic crisis and a 33% in UK applicants.

"KPMG believes that the ability to draw on overseas workers, even if only on a short or medium term basis, has enabled Australia to extract substantial additional benefit from favourable economic conditions that have existed over much of the last two decades."

The Australian economy has survived through the worst economic period since the Great Depression thanks to its successful mining industry but as that starts to slow and new, longer term solutions are needed, the 457 visa program may need tweaking.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says the 457 visa is a great option for people wanting to get to Australia quickly as the DIAC are committed to prioritising these applications:

"KPMG’s report highlights some very interesting points and the recent changes to the 457 program by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will have positive effects as they have introduced a more streamlined pathway to permanent residents for 457 visa holders."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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