24 July 2008

Australian Immigration Department bends rules for unemployed migrants

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) relaxed its rules recently to help a group of Vietnamese workers find their feet after losing their jobs at an abattoir, reports ABC News.

The abattoir closed in May in the South Australian Riverland, leaving the Vietnamese migrants without jobs in the local area. 

The workers, who were on an employer sponsored 457 visa, should normally have been given 28 days to find a new sponsor in Australia before DIAC required them to leave the country.  Several of the immigrants applied for sponsorship from other abattoirs in South Australia, and seven had applied for jobs in Queensland.

However, Sandy Logan from DIAC said because of the unfair circumstances of the situation and the difficulties in finding local work in their skill area, the immigration laws have been relaxed for this group and they have been given an extension on their visa. 

"The Department is currently processing those applications as we speak, we’ll be notifying visa holders once either approval or refusal has been made, that is a process that is a thorough process, I can’t give you an exact time but it is one that we are giving priority to," he told the news provider.

In related news, the Minister for Immigration Senator Chris Evans announced this week the Government has granted more temporary 457 visas than ever before.  The scheme has been highly successful in filling skills shortages throughout the Australian workforce, with UK citizens taking a large majority of the higher-end employment market. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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