15 May 2009

Occupations removed from the temporary business Australian visa (subclass 457) program

Following this week's changes to the Australian skilled migration program, occupations have been removed from the temporary business Australian visa (subclass 457) program in line with the current needs of the Australian economy.

The temporary business Australian visa (subclass 457) program allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary Australian working visa.  While employers must first prove that there are no local workers available to take that position before they sponsor an overseas worker, the Australian immigration department has taken further measures to cut back the program so that Australians have a better chance of employment during the global recession.

Occupations in the tourism, clerical and agricultural industries have been removed from the 457 visa program.  This adds to the upgrade to the English language requirements announced in April, which are both intended to ensure that the 457 program provides those skilled workers that Australia needs most, and does not undermine the training and employment opportunities of the local workforce.

"This change will ensure employers using the 457 visa program to gain access to these occupations satisfy all their obligations under the program, including those on training," a departmental spokesman said.

Employers of workers listed under the groups five to seven on the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) will now need to apply to the Australian government for a labour agreement to do so.

In related news, the Australian Government released its plans for the Australian skilled migration program for the 2009-10 Budget year.  While the migration program has yet again been cut back to 108,100 places to deal with the global recession, no changes have been made to the strategy put in place at the turn of 2009 to make the Australian skilled migration program more targeted. 

This means that the employer-sponsored and government-sponsored visa programs will be playing a more prominent role in attracting the skills needed most to Australia, and the Critical Skills List (CSL) will act as a guideline for immigration officers for priority processing.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

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