There is a significant shortage of skilled IT professionals in the Australian labour market. According to the recruitment agencies, the reason for this is that not enough young people are studying computer science in universities. The number of Australian students who are studying ICT has halved during the last decade.
Therefore many immigration experts expect that there will be a lot of Australian Sponsorship Visa( subclass 457) granted to foreign IT professionals in the next several years. According to the CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association, Suzanne Campbell, employers are using the 457 visas in order to fill the gap, which currently exists on the local labour market.
Foreigners with Australian Sponsorship visa occupy various positions within the IT industry such as software developers, software engineers, solution architects, business analysts, systems integrators, project managers etc.
Many Australian Information Technology specialists are however very critical about the 457 visa program. According to them, this visa scheme allows many big companies to easily import foreign workers either directly or through third-party providers. Australian Employers, however, respond that they prefer to hire local candidates but this is not always possible since there are severe labour deficits on the local market. Latest statistics released from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship show that presently there are 90,280 skilled workers in Australia.
Around 8800 of them were people who are employed in the information, media and telecoms industry. 1,870 visas were given to software developers, 1,110 to ICT business analysts and 1,080 to software engineers.
Most of the foreign information technology workers come from countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and India. Workers from these three countries constitute one-third of the total number of 457 visas that were issued.