29 May 2012

Record numbers of 457 visa holders flock to Western Australia

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Recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show an almost 90% increase in foreign workers on a 457 visa travelling to Western Australia to work in the region's booming mining industry.

Australia visa

457 visa applications for Western Australia have risen by almost 90% in the wake of the ongoing resources boom.

The number of 457 visa applications granted for Western Australia in the first 10 months of the current financial year has alread reached 13,250, an 88% increase on the same period last year.

Of those, over 90% are skilled tradesworkers as well as managers and professionals flocking to the continuing resources boom which offers salaries more than double current national averages in most occupations.

The largest source of Australia visa applications for work in Western Australia was Britain, followed by The Philippines and Ireland.

The resources boom is currently fuelling employment growth in Australia yet, with many of the projects being located in remote and often inhospitable places, labour gaps are widening.

In order to combat this, the Australian government announced a new visa scheme known as an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA), which allows projects worth over AU$2 billion (£1.3 billion) and employs more than 1,500 staff to bring in foreign workers to meet demand.

The current 457 visa scheme is aimed at skilled workers yet the new EMA scheme will allow potential migrants with a wider variety of skills to apply for a visa and enter Australia.

The EMA scheme is intended to allow Australia to meet gaps in the labour market when demand is at its highest; the Australian government predicts that almost 90,000 workers will be needed in the mining sector by 2016, including almost 50,000 temporary workers needed by 2014.

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

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