In 2015 the Western Australian government introduced a school tuition fee requiring Subclass 457 Visa holders to pay $4000 per family in addition to public school fees!! As the only state to implement such a policy, Western Australia no doubt hoped to lead the way in patching up state budgets at the expense of temporary foreign workers – but to no avail.
Government figures show that while the policy was estimated to bring in around $34 million a year to the state coffers, the policy only raised $4 million in 2015. Factors such exemptions for financial hardship or other unforeseen circumstances have been identified for the $30 million shortfall. The financial hardship that the policy would cause the 457 visa holders was a strong criticism of the policy when it was conceptualised – 457 workers often come from poorer countries than Australia, and additional school fees are a fee too many for some. In addition many of these visa holders were not warned of this fee before deciding to come to Australia, and had it forced upon them after their visa had been granted.
As to whether the policy will be withdrawn next year – stay tuned to our blog for more migration information in 2016!