Changes to 457 visa programme highlighted by DIAC

by Ray Clancy on March 11, 2013

in Australia Immigration

Moving to Australia?

Changes to 457 visa programme highlighted by DIAC

Further details have been given of changes to the 457 visa programme which will be effective from July of this year Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship said it will continue to make detailed information available for sponsors, visa holders and their representatives to help them understand the new requirements in the lead up to the changes on 1 July.

A spokesman said that the changes will not adversely affect the vast majority of employers who are using the programme appropriately. ‘The changes will, however, strengthen the government’s capacity to identify and prevent employer practices that are not in keeping with the purpose of the 457 programme,’ he explained.

There should be no adverse effects on existing visa holders if they are already doing the right thing. ‘The 457 visa is a temporary visa, intended for filling short to medium term skill shortages, in a quick, flexible way to meet business needs. The Worker Protection reforms which took effect in September 2009 introduced a range of sponsorship obligations to ensure the working conditions of sponsored visa holders meet Australian standards and that they are not exploited,’ the spokesman explained.

‘The vast majority of 457 visa applicants who are genuine will not be affected by the changes. In some circumstances applicants whose applications are processed after 1 July 2013 may be required to provide further evidence to demonstrate their claims for a 457 visa,’ he added.

Overall it is envisaged that where employers can demonstrate a genuine need for skilled workers from overseas, they will still be able to sponsor people to fill skills gaps. ‘Employers who make genuine attempts to open job opportunities up to Australians, who pay appropriate market rates and who are committed to the ongoing training and up-skilling of Australians will still have access to the subclass 457 programme to supplement their skilled workforce,’ said the spokesman.

Quote from : “Anybody here who is applying for 457 visa? Does it really need to have an employer for you to apply on that kind of visa? Or your application will be open to all Australian states / employers? Thanks”

Traditional forms of labour market testing involves advertising the position prominently in national and local newspapers, trade magazines and/or on job seeker websites over a number of weeks to prove that no suitably qualified Australians could be found for the position. In the past, by the time an employer approached the government to sponsor a skilled worker from overseas they had already tested the local labour market thoroughly. However, they were still forced to go through the prescribed process which usually involved extra costs and delays for the employer.

The government is not reintroducing Labour Market Testing. ‘The 457 programme is an important part of how Australia meets a number of our international trade obligations. These obligations mean we can’t limit access to our economy for people who wish to do business with us,’ said the DIAC spokesman. ‘Part of doing business with us often involves sourcing skilled labour from other countries. Australia must remain open for business people and service providers and the reforms to the 457 program will not adversely impact these obligations,’ he added.

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