In light of the upcoming (but yet undefined) changes to the 457 visa scheme, Mr Rupert Murdoch has denounced the Gillard government’s rhetoric on the skilled foreign worker visa program as “disgraceful and racist”.

Migrants lead to tremendous creativity in the community, and provide an important economic stimulus because they bring skills, energy and capital into the economy.

In March 2013, Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten announced that the Fair Work Ombudsman will be given the power to monitor and enforce 457 visa compliance in the latest toughening of the temporary foreign worker program.

This seems to be an unnecessary regulatory burden and expense given the 457 system is very popular, and is working well.

Any critics of the regime should look at the facts – there have only been three civil cases brought.

Given literally 100s of 1000s of 457s have been processed since the scheme was set up several years ago, this figure evidences that the scheme works.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The flow of foreign workers into Australia is essential to the economic growth of Australia, and the proposed changes could have a negative impact on those who have contributed in the construction industry, the legal industry and the professional services industries.

Certainty is crucial to any legal system – especially when it comes to visa systems.

For over a decade, Zeke Bentley, the Principal lawyer of The Migration Place, has observed (and criticised) the government’s desire to keep tinkering with the migration rules.

Both Liberal and labour governments are guilty of the same sin, and there needs to come a time when politicians cease changing the migration rules around election time.

It is only a matter of time before both political parties debate boat people again – this is yet another non-issue as Australia receives only a few thousand boat people a year, which seems insignificant in a country of 26 million people. That is about one boat person per 3000 to 4000 Australians. This is hardly an important issue given Australia is still battling with the after effects of the GFC, a controversial carbon tax, flood and water issues and a raft of environmental concerns arising from coal seam gas, the expansion of port facilities along environmentally sensitive areas.

Although there is always room for improvement, Peter Anderson (the Chief Executive of the Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry) explained the tone of the public debate is misinforming the public and it is “completely unfair is for the public to get the impression this scheme either doesn’t have rules or has rules that are out of control or that people who are working in jobs under this scheme are doing so at the expense of Australians or lowering the wages of Australians.

Even the  states of Australia are opposing the federal government’s planned crackdown of the skilled migration program.

New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell has supported the 457 visa scheme, saying that the scheme addresses specific skills shortages in the state.

Mr O’Farrell mentioned a number of foreigners who have added so much to the Australian landscape.

NSW has been blessed with wonderful immigrants in all walks of life, such as Frank Lowy [Westfield founder], Gail Kelly [Westpac CEO] and Hazem El Masri [NRL legend],” Mr O’Farrell said.

We don’t want to see a situation where people who can make significant social, cultural and economic contributions to NSW are shut out due to federal Labor’s desperate re-election efforts.

The state’s health system is heavily reliant on foreign workers, the premier explained, as 2,800 457 visa holders are employed in the medical sector, including more than 1,000 doctors and over 1,600 nurses.

Julia Gillard will see a wrecking ball put through the public hospital system, Mr O’Farrell continued, as highly skilled migrants are propping up the sector.

We remain concerned that the series of announcements around 457 visas, combined with offensive and repeated references by unions to the system being akin to slavery, is unfairly demonising employers and vilifying 457 visa holders.

Our experienced Registered Migration Agents at The Migration Place can assist you with a professionally prepared application and supporting evidence which will enhance your chances to secure a successful visa result.

We note that the migration rules change constantly, and the process is getting harder each year so we highlight the need to act quickly, and with assistance of a registered and experienced migration lawyer.

Zeke Bentley is the Principal of Irish Bentley Lawyers, and the Principal Registered Migration Agent of The Migration Place (a division of Irish Bentley Lawyers).  Zeke Bentley is has been a solicitor since 1996 and a registered migration agent since 2002, and he is highly experienced in helping hundreds of families migrate to Australia from all around the world.

By engaging Zeke as your migration agent, you can take comfort that your application is being handled professionally and will therefore be processed as quickly as possible with maximum prospects of success.

If you believe that you may be affected by these changes, then please contact us immediately on (07) 3891 3333 or by email at mail@themigrationplace.com to discuss how we can assist you.