New immigration figures to April show 4,500 grants of 457 visas to Irish citizens in the past ten months.
The four-year 457s are temporary residence visas offered to skilled workers and their dependants who are sponsored by an Australian company.
The figures show a 59 per cent increase in the number of such visas granted to Irish citizens, over the comparable period last year.
The top three citizenship countries for primary visa grants to 30 April this year were the UK (25 per cent), India (18 per cent) and Ireland (eight per cent).
Primary visa grants refer to people who applied for sponsorship for their own behalf, while secondary applicants are those attached to partners’ applications.
With just of 2011 passed, Australia has already surpassed the total number of 457 grants for 2009-10.
There were 4200 applications for primary 457 visas, pushing the total to 42,872 for the year so far — 4000 more than the total number for 2009-10.
Primary visa grants are 37 per cent higher than at the same time last year.
The number of Irish citizens granted 457s in Western Australia has doubled, from 350 to 700. Irish citizens accounted for almost a tenth of successful 457 visa grants in WA in this period.
Primary 457 grants to Irish nationals, July 2010 to April 31, 2011.
^ Excludes Tasmania. Source: DIAC.
Ireland was also the second highest contributor of sponsored workers to the resource rich state, behind the UK. Northern Ireland nationals are included in the UK migration figures.
Other states continue to report an increased Irish uptake with; Queensland (33 per cent), Victoria (72 per cent) and New South Wales (43 per cent). The construction and mining industries’ hunger for overseas skilled workers continues unabated. Respectively, they accounted for 12.5 per cent and 7.4 per cent of all 457 grants to primary applicants.
The average nominated salary for an employee sponsored in the mining industry ranges from just over $122,000 (NSW) to almost $175,000 (Victoria), according to the figures.
The Australian government recently revealed 185,000 visas would be the country’s net migration intake target for the next financial year. Over 125,000 of those places will be reserved for skilled migrants, including 16,000 for “regional areas”.
It also said it would also fast-track permanent residency for 457 visa holders who have spent two years in regional Australia in cases where their employer will continue to sponsor them for a further two years. This will make it easier for 457 visa holders to remain in the region where they have been living and working.
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|*Primary 457 grants to Irish nationals, July 2010 to April 31, 2011.^ Excludes Tasmania. Source: DIAC|