It’s widely expected that the
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton may announce drastic
measures next month, to curb the amount of people coming into Australia on the
Working 457 program.
He made it clear last year
that he would be reducing the list of eligible occupations to encourage more
employment opportunities for Australians. Within the last few weeks, it’s
believed that he has met with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled
Migration who were offering guidance and over this subject.
Just last month the federal government barred fast food
chains from sponsoring foreign workers. This means that sponsored workers could
not work at fast food chains such as KFC and McDonalds and indicates a tough
new stance on migration
There’s rumours that this
announcement may come at the same time as the budget, here at Visa SolutionsAustralia we’ve been trying to establish what could happen.
Is the job deemed skilled?
140 temporary foreign worker
visas are granted each day. There are
651 eligible occupations on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List and there
are critics who claim some roles shouldn’t have been on the list.
One industry under the spotlight
is the accommodation and food sector, the largest user of 457 workers. Cooks with a qualification similar with a
Cert III from Tafe and two years on the job relevant experience are eligible for such a visa but
some argue this does not mean they are highly skilled.
The government could look at
having a complete overhaul of the current list and the occupations on it.
Would they make it difficult for
companies to qualify for 457?
In their efforts to curb the number of 457 workers in Australia, the Immigration
Minister may look at the companies who participate and the salaries offered.
Since 2013, the salary for a 457 worker is set at a minimum
of at least $53,900, and this has not grown despite inflation.
One option of reforming the list is to review salary levels
rather than cut occupations. Employers
submitting the application would come under heavy scrutiny and more care would
be taken over whether they were suitable to offer this sponsorship. There has always been less risk associated
with big businesses and higher salaries.
A higher mandatory salary will mean that employers will
think carefully whether they want to proceed along this route.
What about the regions?
There’s already been mutterings about the regions and whether
there should be variations on the program depending on the area and its
The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said in the past that he
sees it as ‘unimaginable that in areas where there is 14 or 15% of youth
unemployment that companies are being allowed to bring foreign workers in.
WA Leader, Mark McGowan has already said that he wants to radically limit
migrants entering WA, either through 457 visas or on skilled migration
His argument is that with the current high rate of unemployment in WA, the State doesn’t need to bring in trades such as teachers and
bricklayers and even nurses with specialist skills from overseas. He’s received
the backing of unions who unanimously support his plans.
What if you’re a current 457 visa
It’s not clear what would happen if you are currently on a
457 visa, but you would be wise to investigate permanent residency sooner
rather than later, because of the uncertainty ahead.
If you want to discuss this further, why not give us a ring
here at Visa Solutions Australia? We are
one of the country’s most trusted migration agents and can offer advice on your
situation. We have recently been highlighted as providing one of the best
visa blogs in the world. This means our articles are trusted and widely read.
We rank in the top 25 best visa blogs: by