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.

Category: Migration News  Tags:
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