Australia will tighten 457 visa requirements

Australian passport

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship announced that the Temporary 457 Australian Visa will be reformed, due to changes in the country’s economy and domestic labour market.

According to the Immigration Minister Brendon O’Connor plays a crucial role for many Australian companies, when they are unable to find skilled workers in the home market.

Under the changes, employers must demonstrate that they are not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist and the enforceability of existing training requirements for businesses that use the programme will be strengthened.

In addition to the English language requirements for many positions will be raised. The salary exemptions will also rise from 180 000 AUD to 250 000 AUD.

Also, compliance and enforcement powers will be beefed up to stop employers who have routinely abused the 457 system and stakeholders will be consulted to ensure market rate provisions more effectively protect local employment.

O’Connor explained that the changes are necessary in order to ensure that the companies who want to hire foreign workers with temporary visas are really facing the inability to find local talent and not just abusing the system. He thinks that the current growth of the 457 visas is in dissonance with the real skills shortage that exists on the Australian labour market.

The Immigration Minister, however, makes it clear that the new rules do not punish employers who hire foreigners but want to give the chance to Australians to get local jobs and participate in local projects.

The last substantial changes were made to the 457 programmes in 2009 to make it more expensive to recruit overseas workers and to strengthen the infringement regime for businesses that were abusing the system.

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