457 Visa Holders Help Build The Australian Economy, Says MCA

24 Sep 2013


Immigration News

Australia’s new government is yet to indicate its stand on the changes to the 457 visa program which has triggered a debate over if it means fewer jobs for the citizens.

The 457 Visa is the most frequently used visa stream for temporary foreign workers and due to the claims that employers are misusing it, access to this visa has become tighter.

The Migration Council of Australia (MCA) says 457 visas play a crucial role in enabling growth, acquiring foreign investment and that it is a program that helps create Australian jobs.

The MCA’s latest report ‘More than Temporary’ declared that the government should be fairly proud of the 457 program. The survey of 3,800 457 visa holders stated that 76% of them help in training and developing Australian workers.

Chief Executive Officer of the MCA, Carla Wilshire said that 457 visa holders are being used by 4 out of 5 multinational companies to develop and train Australian workers and the survey results emphasize that knowledge and skills transfer from 457 visa holders play a pivotal role in building the human capital in Australia.

She mentioned that the survey results show that the 457 visa program is crucial in keeping Australia competitive in a generation when 98% of innovation happens outside of Australia as the industry is global.

Wilshire explained that temporary migration does not only fill shortage in skills, it is paramount in workplace development at the enterprise level and addresses skills deficit. The report also confirms that most employers are using the program to fill skills shortages and that 85% of employers are content with the scheme.

However, the report also identified some compliance issues indicating the need to strengthen the supervising structure and Wilshire said it is regarding that 2% of the program disclosed incomes less than the minimum income set by regulation.  The MCA recommends the introduction of a price signal to encourage businesses to employ Australian workers, giving funds to amplify compliance efforts and give services to 457 workers in need.

Wilshire said that while the broad majority of 457 visa holders pointed out that they were settling well in Australia, the focus should be on dependents and spouses. Having a working spouse makes it more likely that 457 visa holders will remain in Australia and we can capture their skills by extending support services on the basis of needs.

She also said that 457 visa holders help to build the Australian economy, contribute their skills and pay taxes.

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