Prime minister Julia Gillard has been announcing that the 457 visa regime will be reformed this year to ensure that the 457 system should only be used in circumstances where no local employee can be found.
The 457 visa regime would be reformed on 1 July 2013 (see our link: www.themigrationplace.com/2013/03/01/changes-to-the-subclass-457-visa/), with the main changes relating to market testing.
This is not a new requirement – Zeke Bentley of The Migration Place recalls that it was only a few years ago that the original 457 system required sponsors to show they had looked for Australians first through national advertisements and so forth. Generally this just slowed the process down and prevented quick 457 work visas being arranged, so Zeke has reservations about re-instating that requirement.
Interestingly, the announcements have led to Julia Gillard being criticised because some of her most senior staff members are foreigners here on 457 visas.
Her high-profile media director John McTernan is a British import here on a 457 visa, with questions being raised as to how he was able to pass the top secret security clearances required to fill the position, noting such clearances are only available to Australian citizens. Likewise her deputy-chief of staff Tom Bentley also has British roots.
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey told journalists: “Julia Gillard says people on 457 visas are taking the jobs of everyday Australians”.
“Aren’t there people in her office on 457 visas? And how did they get security clearance to access some of the most sensitive documents of Australia? I’m just surprised that there’s no-one else that is prepared to work in Julia Gillard’s office other than someone who’s on a 457 visa.”