People arriving to live and work in some states in Australia with 457 visas face paying fees for their children’s schooling even if they go to a state funded establishment. New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory were the first to introduce fees for the children of 457 visa holders in 2011. In New South Wales the fees range between $4,000 and $6,000 per child per year and in the ACT fees range between $9,000 and $14,000 per child per year.
Now the Western Australian territorial government has become the latest to charge fees for the children of 457 visa holders. It is to be set at $4,000 per year for every child educated in government funded schools. The government hopes to raise $120 million over four years by introducing the charge. Western Australian state government treasurer, Troy Buswell, said that the fee was necessary because the numbers of 457 visa holders with children has risen sharply. There were 290 children of 457 visa workers in publicly funded schools in 2005 and now that has risen to 8,600, a 29 fold increase.
‘The simple growth in numbers has put massive pressure on the education system and by extension, massive pressure on the balance of the taxpayers of Western Australia,’ said Buswell.
The 457 visa is popular among Australian employers for skilled workers and are temporary work visas which last for up to four years. Applicants are sponsored by an approved Australian business that nominates them for certain approved positions. The visa allows the holder to live and work in Australia and enter and leave as often as they want along with a spouse, partner and children.
Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “I spoke to an immigrating agent and he said that he thinks public schools in AU isn’t really good, and if we want to make a right choice, it will be to put our children in private schools.”
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) there are currently over 100,000 people in Australia with 457 visas. Recently there has been a series of changes to the 457 visa system amid claims that it is being widely abused by employers. Fees for the visa have doubled from $455 to $900 and applicants must also pay a fee of $900 if their spouse intends to accompany them to Australia and a fee of $255 for each dependent child.