The Migration Council Australia recently released an extensive report on the 457 visa program.
The report provides a detailed look at Australia’s long-term temporary work visa, how the program works, its history, interesting case studies, and some international comparisons. It is the result of a survey of just over 3,800 457 visa holders and 1,600 businesses.
As the 457 visa program continues to receive extensive media coverage, the report’s key findings suggest that there are only a number of employers actually misusing the program. Just this week the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, stated that there will be harsh punishments for anyone who abuses the 457 visa program.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
- The vast majority of workers holding 457 visas have a high-level of job satisfaction (88%)
- Most 457 visa holders feel that their job utilises their skills and training well (86.3%)
- Most employers are also satisfied or very satisfied with the program (85%);
- The majority of 457 visa holders intend to become permanent residents in the future (70%)
- Over three-quarters of 457 visa holders use their skills to train or develop other employees (76%)
- Many employers use 457 visa holders to train their Australian staff (68.5%)
- Many 457 visa holders from a non-English speaking background have faced some form of discrimination (18.4%)
- Some 457 visa holders report that they are being paid under the minimum income threshold (2%) allowable under the program
The report confirms a well-known trend that the majority of prospective skilled migrants use the temporary visa program as a pathway for permanent residence. Most permanent employer sponsored visas are now provided to those already living and working in Australia while holding 457 visas
To access a copy of the report follow this link: Migration Council 457 visa program report.
This is an excellent report which examines a whole range of issues including both the employer’s and the employees’ points of view and other related matters. The survey sample is reasonable and the findings indicate the usefulness of the program. Hopefully the new government’s recent supporting pronouncements will further underpin the continued success of the program in areas of skill and skilled labour shortage. However the program should never be seen as a replacement for training our own population, so this support must be maintained in conjunction with continued and preferably increased training and re-training opportunities for local workers.
Where appropriate skills are available, employing locally will always be preferable. If employers seek to sponsor overseas workers where there are local skills available, then there may well be a hidden agenda, which hopefully sensible monitoring and compliance will target and eliminate.