A recent press article claims that the controversial 457 immigration visa scheme is being abused by those who don’t qualify to remain in Australia after finishing their time as overseas students.
The article suggests that hospitality is one area of concern, with foreign cooks and hotel bosses in the spotlight, in addition to management consultants, accountants and recruitment experts.
Monash University expert Dr Bob Birrell told News Limited that the expansion of the 457 system has been justified through the mining system, in a bid to fill the employment gaps.
About one in ten of 457 visa holders were in the resources sector, and that employers have not been forced to examine the local market for skilled workers.
“There is no labour market testing at all by employers wishing to sponsor 457 visas,” he said.
In the 2011-12 financial year, the following skills secured 457 visas:
- 1,772 engineers (1,161 civil engineers, 383 mining engineers and 228 petroleum engineers).
- 2,400 cooks and chefs.
- 1,630 management consultants.
- 1,500 accountants.
- 1,400 GPs.
- 960 recruitment consultants.
- 400 customer service managers.
More than half of 457 visa holders from last year were former students and “working holiday” visitors.
The federal government tightened the requirements for the 457 visa system, which will take effect on 1 July 2013 and include reforms such as:
- increased scrutiny on salaries, with the exemption threshold for PR rising from $180,000 to $250,000.
- increasing the cost to recruit overseas employees.
- expanding the punishment system for employers who were abusing the system.
Businesses are claiming that all these reforms will do is hurt the employment prospects of everyone.
The Migration Place believes there are more than sufficient safeguards in the 457 scheme – indeed the scheme works well and helps many Australian businesses find skilled employment solutions. The presence of a minimum salary requirement of almost $52k+Super is an effective safeguard against the visa system being abused.