COOKS, meat workers and general medical practitioners were the top three worker skills imported to Queensland under the 457 visa program in the year to January, new government data reveals.
The Immigration Department figures for the 457 visa program also showed project administrators, marketing specialists and IT programmers were New South Wales’ top imports for the same period.
Despite a national fall for 457 applications every month since August last year, the number of applications lodged was 9.5% higher than for the same period in 2011.
Nationally, the number of onshore 457 visa lodgements grew 28.9% in the year to January, while the number of 457 visas granted was 6.6% higher than the same period last year.
In Queensland, the number of applications from cooks grew 200.8% in the past year, with 400 cooks approved to temporarily move to Australia.
Other top imports by occupation in Queensland were skilled meat workers, up 202.8% to 330; GPs, up 5.6% to 210, and restaurant managers, up 280.8% to 200 workers in the past year.
In NSW, the top imports were project administrators, up 20.3% to 690 for the past year, followed by developer programmers, down 6.8% to 600 for the year to January.
Other top imported workers in NSW were marketing specialists, up 6.8% to 600, cooks, up 110.6% to 540, and restaurant managers, up 286.8% to 410 workers.
The top industries sponsoring 457 visas in both states were construction, health care, mining, information technology accommodation and food services, and professionals.
In both Queensland and NSW, most 457 workers came from India, the United States and Ireland, with China and Philippines also playing a big role in supplying workers.
TOP 457 WORKERS IMPORTED
- Cook: up 200.8% to 400.
- Skilled meat worker: up 202.8% to 330.
- General medical practitioner: up 5.6% to 210.
- Restaurant manager: up 280.8% to 200.
- Project administrator: up 15.4% to 200.
- Project administrator: up 20.3% to 690.
- Developer programmer: down 6.8% to 600.
- Marketing specialist: up 6.8% to 600.
- Cook: up 110.6% to 540.
- Restaurant manager: 286.8% to 410.
SOURCE: Immigration Department, 457 migration statistics, year to January 31, 2013 & The Sunshine Coast Daily
It is perhaps no coincidence that amongst the most popular categories for the 457 visa are those generalist skilled or catch-all classifications like Project & Programme administrator and Marketing Specialists. This perhaps says more about the restrictive nature of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) dictionary which DIAC relies upon so heavily. Like the IELTS English test, ANZSCO was never intended to be the defining arbiter of occupations for immigration purposes, so obviously the use of it for these purposes almost encourages the use of more general classifications where the exact skilled occupation is not listed but a more general related category is. This doesn’t mean the occupation isn’t skilled, it simply means that it has not been recognised as such and government demand lists are generally behind the curve.
It should however be emphasised that DIAC is the decision-maker in these matters and a case has to be made in such circumstances.
Skilled meat-workers numbers have in all likelihood increased because of the existence of a labour agreement directly negotiated in fine detail with the Federal government, so who’s keeping an eye on this?
Cooks (and chefs to a lesser extent) have always been in shortage, despite blatant attempts by the education sector to link study to permanent residence, and even after the blitz on that occupation initially through removal from the old MODL etc. However, cooks and chefs are still on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL) which is available for employers who cannot locate suitably skilled staff to sponsor skilled staff on 457 visas.