20 March 2009
Employers not sacking temporary Australian visa holders
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the number of temporary Australian visa holders has stayed relatively stable during the economic downturn. While the number of 457 visa applications has taken a backslide because of the slowing down of the Australian economy, the number of 457 visa cancellations has not increased during this period.
In January, there were 82,150 holders of the 457 visas in Australia, despite their being a 33 per cent drop in the number of 457 visa holders since September when the global financial crisis started affecting Australia. Australian business visa applications also dropped by 30 per cent in January when compared with the same period last year.
This indicates, according to The Australian newspaper, that while the Australian temporary visa program is responding to the economic slowdown, employers are holding onto those employees who have temporary work permits. The 457 visa scheme is an employer-sponsorship visa program that allows overseas workers to work in Australia for up to four years. Employers can only sponsor an overseas employee for this Australian visa if they can prove that local Australian workers cannot fill the vacancy.
The 457 visa can be cancelled if the worker fails to comply with the Australian visa conditions, or if employment ceases because of resignation or lack of work.
The Government this week also announced a reduction to the Australian skilled migration program, which allows overseas workers to migrate permanently to Australia. The changes mean that around 18,000 fewer people will be emigrating to Australia through the program, and the approach will be more targeted to specific skills so that Australia can get the workers that it needs most. The Government has done this by prioritising employer-sponsored Australian visa applications, State-nominated Australian visa applications and those applicants who have a skill listed on the Critical Skills List (CSL).
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.