What could happen with the 457 visa program?

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What could happen with the 457 visa program?

What could happen with the 457 visa program?

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 employment record.

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 programs. 

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 holder?

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  http://blog.feedspot.com/visa_blogs/  







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