26 May 2009

Temporary Australian visa numbers dropping

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The numbers of temporary Australian visa holders in the Skilled Stream are dropping as a result of the slowing Australian economy. While the Government has implemented changes to the temporary Australian visa (subclass 457) scheme to protect the jobs of local Australians, employers have also cutback the number of people they hire on the 457 visa scheme because of reduced demand in the labour market.

The two-pronged influence on the temporary Australian visa (subclass 457) scheme means that it has reached its lowest levels since 2005 during April.  The temporary Australian skilled visa grants during this month were recorded at 23 per cent lower than in March and 64 per cent lower than in September 2008.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said that the global crisis is responsible for the drop in demand, although certain sectors will continue to demand temporary skilled workers to emigrate to Australia.

"The subclass 457 visa program is showing that it is responding to the economic conditions and reduced demand in the labour market," Senator Evans said.

"While the number of workers coming to Australia under the scheme has slowed considerably, there will continue to be demand for skills in some sectors, such as healthcare, so there will still be a need for employers to access skilled overseas workers."

While the Government relies on the temporary Australian visa (subclass 457) scheme to readjust itself to economic conditions, it also earlier this year implemented changes to further protect temporary workers from taking the jobs from local Australians. 

These include introducing market salary rates and increased minimum salary levels for temporary Australian visa holders, increasing English language skills for trades and chefs and lower skilled occupations, introducing trade assessments for trades and chefs for higher risk countries, increasing standards of employer labour agreements and developing formal training opportunities for local workers.

The subclass 457 visa program is a temporary business long-stay visa that allows employers to sponsor an overseas worker to emigrate to Australia to work in their company for up to four years. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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