Archive for » June, 2013 «

Overseas workers on 457 visas rise 20 percent over past year

Data released today show the number of overseas workers coming to Australia on 457 visas has jumped more than 20 per cent over the past year.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor said the significant growth in the program highlighted the need for further reform.

‘There are now 108 810 457 visa holders – a 20.4 per cent growth in the 12 months to April 30. This is at a time when employment growth remains soft in some industries and regions,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘A recent survey by the Migration Council revealed that 15 per cent of employers anonymously surveyed said they used 457 visas, although they could find appropriate local labour.

‘Increasingly we are seeing the misuse of the system by employers who are not making an effort to find local labour first, or who exploit overseas workers under this scheme, which is why the government will take further action to stop employers misusing the program.’

Mr O’Connor said the Gillard Government was committed to ensuring local workers were given local opportunities wherever possible.

‘Genuine skill shortages do exist in industries and locations right across Australia and we are attempting to ensure they get filled, while at the same time making sure locally skilled people don’t miss out on work,’ he said.

Mr O’Connor also announced the revised annual Skilled Occupation List (SOL), which reflected changes in skill shortage areas.

‘This list, designed to fill gaps in the workforce by attracting skilled migrants to Australia, no longer includes the skill categories of retail pharmacy and aircraft engineering,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘The SOL is an important tool to meet demand for skills and includes a number of highly valued and skilled occupations across a range of industries including medical, engineering and mechanical services.

‘It’s important this list focusses on occupations in genuine need in the medium to long term and the up-to-date SOL maintains the government’s targeted approach to skilled migration.’

The SOL is based on the advice of the independent Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) and applies to independent migrants seeking to come to Australia.

The SOL is available from the Department of Immigration of Citizenships (DIAC) website.

Asia now the leading source of permanent migrants to Australia

immi2011-12New report reaffirms the ‘Asian Century’.

According to Australia’s Migration Trends, a new report released today by the Minister for Immigration & Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor, Asia has become the  leading supplier of permanent skilled migrants to Australia


The report contains comprehensive analysis and commentary on migration activity for 2011-12, and provides a clear picture of substantial changes in the origins of Australia’s migrants, reflecting the trend towards an Asian Century.

For the first time, India and China were the two main source countries of permanent migrants.

‘Seven of the top 10 source countries in 2011-12 were located in the Asia region,’ Mr O’Connor said.

The substantial growth in overseas born residents is changing Australia’s ethnic composition.

In the past 15 years the number of China born Australian residents has more than tripled.

birthplaceThis growth rate was surpassed by the number of India born residents which increased fourfold over this same period.

Between 1996 and 2011, Australia’s overseas-born population grew by more than 40 per cent to reach six million. This was more than double the rate for the Australian-born population and is essential in addressing the demographic challenges of an ageing population,’ Mr O’Connor said.

‘With the government’s strong emphasis on skilled migration, this sort of growth is also crucial to ensuring depth in Australia’s labour force.

Mr O’Connor said patterns of migration are also changing.

‘In 2011-12, half of Australia’s skilled migrants applied while they were already living in Australia on a temporary visa. This was more than twice the rate of a decade earlier and reflects a growing trend of migrants seeing what Australia has to offer before making a commitment to settle permanently,’ Mr O’Connor said.

2013-2014 Australia Skilled Occupation List (SOL) released

Annual Update of Skilled Occupation List – 1 July 2013

The Skilled Occupation List

The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will change from 1 July 2013, with five occupations to be removed. The SOL determines which occupations are eligible for independent and family sponsored skilled migration.

The updated SOL is based on expert advice from the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency (previously known as Skills Australia). The list of occupations reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to a skilled migration program that delivers skills in need in Australia. The SOL will continue to deliver a skilled migration program focused on high value skills that will help to address Australia’s future skill needs.

Summary of changes to the SOL

The following changes have been applied to the SOL.

Occupations removed from the SOL

ANZSCO CodeOccupation
251511Hospital Pharmacist
251513Retail Pharmacist
323111Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)
323112Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical)
323113Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures)

Occupations on the SOL from 1 July 2013

ANZSCO CodeOccupation
133111Construction Project Manager
133112Project Builder
133211Engineering Manager
133513Production Manager (Mining)
134111Child Care Centre Manager
134211Medical Administrator
134212Nursing Clinical Director
134213Primary Health Organisation Manager
134214Welfare Centre Manager
221111Accountant (General)
221112Management Accountant
221113Taxation Accountant
221213External Auditor
221214Internal Auditor
224511Land Economist
231212Ship’s Engineer
231213Ship’s Master
231214Ship’s Officer
232112Landscape Architect
232214Other Spatial Scientist
232611Urban and Regional Planner
233111Chemical Engineer
233112Materials Engineer
233211Civil Engineer
233212Geotechnical Engineer
233213Quantity Surveyor
233214Structural Engineer
233215Transport Engineer
233311Electrical Engineer
233411Electronics Engineer
233511Industrial Engineer
233512Mechanical Engineer
233513Production or Plant Engineer
233611Mining Engineer (Excluding Petroleum)
233612Petroleum Engineer
233911Aeronautical Engineer
233912Agricultural Engineer
233913Biomedical Engineer
233914Engineering Technologist
233915Environmental Engineer
233916Naval Architect
234111Agricultural Consultant
234112Agricultural Scientist
234611Medical Laboratory Scientist
234914Physicist (Medical Physicist only)
241111Early Childhood (Pre-Primary School) Teacher
241411Secondary School Teacher
241511Special Needs Teacher
241512Teacher of the Hearing Impaired
241513Teacher of the Sight Impaired
241599Special Education Teachers nec
251211Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
251212Medical Radiation Therapist
251213Nuclear Medicine Technologist
251311Environmental Health Officer
251312Occupational Health and Safety Advisor
252311Dental Specialist
252411Occupational Therapist
252712Speech Pathologist
253111General Medical Practitioner
253311Specialist Physician (General Medicine)
253313Clinical Haematologist
253314Medical Oncologist
253317Intensive Care Specialist
253322Renal Medicine Specialist
253324Thoracic Medicine Specialist
253399Specialist Physicians nec
253511Surgeon (General)
253512Cardiothoracic Surgeon
253514Orthopaedic Surgeon
253516Paediatric Surgeon
253517Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
253521Vascular Surgeon
253912Emergency Medicine Specialist
253913Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
253917Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist
253918Radiation Oncologist
253999Medical Practitioners nec
254411Nurse Practitioner
254412Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
254413Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)
254414Registered Nurse (Community Health)
254415Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
254416Registered Nurse (Development Disability)
254417Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)
254418Registered Nurse (Medical)
254421Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)
254422Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
254423Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
254424Registered Nurse (Surgical)
254499Registered Nurse nec
261111ICT business Analyst
261112Systems Analyst
261311Analyst Programmer
261312Developer Programmer
261313Software Engineer
263111Computer Network and Systems Engineer
263311Telecommunications Engineer
263312Telecommunications Network Engineer
272311Clinical Psychologist
272312Educational Psychologist
272313Organisational Psychologist
272399Psychologists nec
272511Social Worker
312211Civil Engineering Draftsperson
312212Civil Engineering Technician
312311Electrical Engineering Draftsperson
312312Electrical Engineering Technician
313211Radio Communications Technician
313212Telecommunications Field Engineer
313213Telecommunications Network Planner
313214Telecommunications Technical Officer or Technologist
321111Automotive Electrician
321211Motor Mechanic (General)
321212Diesel Motor Mechanic
321213Motorcycle Mechanic
321214Small Engine Mechanic
322211Sheetmetal Trades Worker
322311Metal Fabricator
322312Pressure Welder
322313Welder (First Class)
323211Fitter (General)
323212Fitter and Turner
323214Metal Machinist (First Class)
331211Carpenter and Joiner
332211Painting trades workers
333211Fibrous Plasterer
333212Solid Plasterer
334111Plumber (General)
334112Airconditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber
334115Roof plumber
341111Electrician (General)
341112Electrician (Special Class)
341113Lift Mechanic
342111Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic
342211Electrical Linesworker
342212Technical Cable Jointer
342313Electronic Equipment Trades Worker
342314Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (General)
342315Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (Special Class)
399111Boat Builder and Repairer
411211Dental Hygienist
411212Dental Prosthetist
411213Dental Technician
411214Dental Therapist
Politicians rekindle republican debate

The Treasurer & deputy prime minister – Wayne Swan and the former leader of the opposition – Malcolm Turnbull have joined forces to today launch a collection of essays arguing the case for Australia to become a republic.

Malcolm Turnball was a founder member of the Australian Republican Movement and its chairman in the lead up to the unsuccessful 1999 referendum on the issue.

Mr Turnball backed Mr Swans argumewnt that a new debate is “overdue”.

“I’m very positive about the republican cause,”
the Liberal frontbencher said.

“I agree with Wayne Swan that it’s always a good time to talk about our constitution. People say, ‘Oh we shouldn’t be talking about our constitution’ – that’s ridiculous.

“Of course there are more immediate issues – we’re not going to fight the election on this issue, this is not going to be what determines the fate of the Labor government; it’s not going to be even on the radar screen.

“But we should always be alert to and interested in our constitution.”

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Swan said he wanted Labor party policy to set out a two-stage process towards a republic, beginning with a plebiscite on the best model, followed by another referendum.

“We’ve had a decade of inertia and I think the time has come, and I believe sooner rather than later we have to begin the journey towards a plebiscite,” he said.

Mr Turnbull believes the best time will be after the end of the current Queen’s reign.

“There’s got to be the sense that this is an issue of the hour, and it isn’t an issue of the hour for determination at least for most Australians today,” he said.

“There’s no point having another referendum that’s going to be lost.

“I think our best chance of having a referendum which could win would be after the end of the Queen’s reign.”

Australian 457 visa crackdown continues

The Australian PM has once again, lit the blue touch paper with regards 457 visas and is planning to introduce monetary fines for company owners who fail to offer vacancies to Australian workers first.

Unions are pressuring the government to act before the Federal elections in Sept, claiming that under the current “tick-a-box” approach, companies are claiming they face local labour shortages without even advertising the jobs locally.

The changes are expected to be debated by cabinet ministers this week, with the changes including financial penalties for employers who lie or mislead authorities about labour shortages in order to import workers on 457 visas.

The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily with a little more than 100,000 workers currently in Australia under the visa class.

The number of 457 visa classes has jumped 20 per cent in the last year.

Currently, bosses must claim there is a labour shortage to secure a foreign worker but do not have to prove it.

“Why do they like 457 visas if they have local labour available? Because they can deport these workers in a month,” a senior government source claimed.

Senior government sources also said the Department of Immigration was reviewing “serious” allegations over exploitation of some low-skilled workers, suggesting there was a “fine line” between the abuse of 457s and labour trafficking.

The 457 debate has sparked bitter divisions within government ranks, with accusations the Prime Minister was “dog-whistling” to racists.

Last month, former Labor leader Simon Crean said the debate over 457 visas was a good policy with bad rhetoric.

“She’s gone the class warfare,” Mr Crean said.

“The 457 visa debate was a good example of the message being taken out of context – because it looked like ‘we’ll put Australians before foreigners’. Unequivocally, immigration has been good for this country.”

Mr O’Connor sparked controversy earlier this year when he suggested the number of 457 visa rorts to be in excess of 10,000. “I can assure you we will be looking to legislate,” he said at the time.