16 April 2009

Australian 457 visa English requirements worrying meat industry

The Australian 457 visa English language requirements for several skilled occupations was raised this month, causing concern in the meat industry that they would also have to raise the level of English of overseas workers in their factories.

The Australian 457 visa is a temporary skilled visa that allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to work for their company for up to four years.  This week, the Australian Government raised the requirements for the English language requirement from 4.5 to 5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for skilled trades and chef applicants only.

While the English language requirement for meat workers is still sitting at level 3, according to ABC News, the Australian Meat Industry Council is worried that the Australian visa application requirements for the Subclass 457 would raise, making it difficult for meatworks to get the employees it needs.

"Obviously, IELTS 3 is proven to be quite successful in terms of the people we have brought in so far," Kevin Cottrell from the Australian Meat Industry Council said.

"IELTs 5 would make it quite difficult for a number of people working in the meatworks to get that sort of a level of English."

The new requirement for trades and chefs came into effect on 13 April 2009, and will affect all Australian visa applications lodged for the Subclass 457 visa, as well as all current 457 visa holders who are applying for an extension of their visa. 

Soon to come into effect is the indexation of the minimum salary level for 457 visa holders, which will be 4.1 per cent from the 1 July 2009, and market-based pay rates from September 2009, which is designed to encourage employers to exhaust local labour opportunities before utilising temporary Australian visa holders.

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

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