24 January 2013

KPMG survey highlights importance of 457 visa program

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The latest Skilled Migration Survey published by multi-national auditing firm KPMG has shown that Australian employers are continuing to make use of the 457 visa program and the domestic workforce is benefitting as a result.

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KPMG's study said the 457 visa program would be essential in helping Australian business cope with the retirement of baby boomers.

KPMG's latest survey said the country's baby boomer generation was entering retirement phase and overseas workers - in Australia on a 457 visa - are helping to fill gaps in the workforce.

The 457 visa allows overseas workers to temporarily live and work in Australia; the program has proved unpopular with one Australian workers' union, who even went so far as to suggest the program be frozen while a review of its practices is carried out.

However, KPMG's study showed that while Australian employers prefer to hire local labour, the program is essential in continuing Australia's economic success.

"Our latest survey suggests that many Australian organisations are already seeking to manage this generational change within their broader employment and human resource strategies," said Karen Waller, KPMG's Australian spokesperson.

"This is good news as long-term demographic changes (including dependency ratios) will demand that we put a premium on enhancing workforce skills and productivity.

"Skilled migration should play an important role in that process."

The study - which surveys thousands of employers - showed that over 60% of employers were understaffed in some way or another, with the West Australian mining industry continuing to be in greatest need of skilled labour.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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