457 Visa Fee to double

- Posted in Australia by Visa Bureauon 21 May 2013

The 457 visa - which allows foreign workers to temporarily live and work in Australia - has been a contention subject of late with several politicians - including Prime Minister Julia Gillard - claiming the program is being abused by unscrupulous employers.

Critics of the scheme claim employers are bypassing the wage and level requirements - which are intended to ensure foreign workers are only brought in where local labour cannot be found - to undercut local labour in a process known as 'rorting'.

The claims have proved highly contentious with proponents of the scheme claiming the 457 visa program is vital in continuing Australia's economic prosperity.

The debate looks set to continue for some time yet, especially in the rub up to the federal elections later this year, but the government have acted first with Treasurer Wayne Swan announcing in his most recent Federal Budget that the cost of a 457 visa will be increased to AU$900 (£580) in July.

As many of the 457 visas had been granted to workers in rural areas, unions within the construction and mining industries which relied on foreign skills the most have been the loudest in their protests but My Swan said incentives will be provided to ensure remote projects can better attract local workers.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said skill shortages were a natural part of remote work projects but the government is making efforts to address this.

"Added to the challenges of remoteness, our regional businesses also have to adapt to the new competitive environment of the Asian century," said the minister.

"This is further exacerbating skills shortages, which businesses in rural and regional Australia have always had to deal with."

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