15 August 2006

457 Visa programme benefits Australia

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Research into temporary skilled migration in Australia has found that the employer sponsored Long-stay Business Visa, or the 457 Visa, has been highly beneficial to the country.

Australian employers use the 457 visa to help alleviate periods of skills shortages and holders are allowed to work in the country for up to 4 years, and also gives their partner or spouse work rights.

457 visa holders are also eligible to apply for permanent residency.

The new report, Temporary Skilled Migrants' Employment and Residence Outcomes (2006) by Professors Peter McDonald, Graeme Hugo and Dr Siew-Ean Khoo was released today by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone.

Amongst the key findings of the report were:

It was also acknowledged by the report that 457 visa holders raise the productivity of Australian workers, raise employment and average earnings and make a major contribution to Commonwealth and state budgets.

The findings of the report backed the Government's faith in the visa class, which it applauded for bringing largely young, well qualified and highly skilled people to the country.

"Some critics want to go back to 'fortress Australia' and keep out skilled workers from overseas," Senator Vanstone said.

"But with an unemployment rate of 4.8% we can't afford to take such a blinkered approach to attracting skilled migrant labour in a highly competitive international labour market."

Replying to criticism from the Labour Party about the programme, Vanstone added: "The only surprising thing about all of this evidence for the value of 457 visas is that Federal Labor and the trade union movement just don't get it,"

"State Labor Governments are working closely with the Federal Government to try and maximise the benefits the 457 visa can bring for their states. In fact the New South Wales Government is the biggest single user of the 457 visa.

"Given our demand for skilled workers, we should be putting out the welcome mat for these people, not trying to white ant or demonise them."

For more information on the 457 visa, see the Visa Bureau's skilled visa pages.

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