What is the reason for the ongoing Australian 457 visa dispute ?

During the last few weeks, there is continuous fighting between the Australian government and the unions about the 457 visa.

The 457 visas is regarded as an entry point which many companies use in order to fill that what the government calls “gap in the local markets with regard to skills and experience.

The system has worked very well for the mining industry during the last several years, but there is an increased pressure on the government to tighten the rules.

All parties that are involved in the dispute have a specific population to which they feel loyal. The government is trying to protect the interests of the general population.

They think that if skilled workers are not available across Australia for specific projects and industries then they will need to be brought in, as a short-term measure.

On the other hand, the unions want to protect the interest of their members against the influx of foreign workers.

The unions cite statistics that show that the average employee has increased with one per cent during the last year while the total number of granted visas has surged with 20%.

The counterargument of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship is that on the surface this looks to be a one-sided argument but the reality is that compared to 1% of the workforce, a 20% increase in 457 visa numbers is minuscule.

They are not comparing like-for-like figures and therefore there is some distortion.

Generally, although there are some valid points on both sides of the debate, Australia has profited a lot from the incoming skilled workers especially during the period of the mining boom.

Many of these skilled individuals have gone on to play a very prominent role in the Australian economy and indeed a large number have decided to remain in the country and to make Australia their new homeland.

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