14 April 2009

457 visa scheme should be reduced, says demographer

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The debate about the Australian 457 visa scheme continues for Australian demographer Bob Kinnaird.

The Australian 457 visa allows foreign workers to work in Australia for up to four years for an Australian employer, so long as the employer can prove that there are no local Australians that can take that position. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Bob Kinnaird, an expert in Australian migration, says that the Government has not done enough to reduce the numbers of people emigrating to Australia to protect the jobs of Australians during the economic downturn.  Further, he says some 457 visa holders are being retrenched and finding it more difficult to find jobs so they may stay in the country (457 visa holders must leave the country if they cannot find work within 28 days of losing their job). 

"If we don't see some kind of slowdown, the Government is going to have a real problem on its hands."

Currently, a record number of 457 visa holders are working in Australia (82,150) and in the first two months of this year nearly 9,000 Australian visa applications for the 457 visa were issued to foreign workers.

The Government has said that the 457 visa program is reflexive to market conditions, and if employers do not need foreign workers then they will not be able to employ them through the temporary 457 program.

According to Mr Kinnaird, the Government will issue updated figures on the number of Australian visa application approvals for the Subclass 457 within the week.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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