25/05/2009 - 12:07

457 visa applications fall to 4-yr low

25/05/2009 - 12:07

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The number of overseas workers heading for Australia on temporary 457 visas has continued to fall with April applications the lowest in four years.

The number of overseas workers heading for Australia on temporary 457 visas has continued to fall with April applications the lowest in four years.

 

 

The announcement is below:

 

The number of overseas workers coming to Australia on temporary 457 visas has continued to fall in response to the slowing economy and changes implemented by the Rudd Government to protect local jobs.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that the number of applications for Subclass 457 visas lodged in April 2009 was the lowest rate in four years.

The number of temporary skilled migration visas granted in April 2009 was almost 23 per cent lower than in March and 64 per cent lower than in September last year, when the global financial crisis hit.

"The Subclass 457 visa program is showing that it is responding to the economic conditions and reduced demand in the labour market," Senator Evans said.

"While the number of workers coming to Australia under the scheme has slowed considerably, there will continue to be demand for skills in some sectors, such as healthcare, so there will still be a need for employers to access skilled overseas workers."

Senator Evans said changes announced to the Subclass 457 visa program last month will ensure that temporary skilled overseas workers are not employed ahead of local workers or used to undermine Australian wages and conditions.

The seven key reform measures are:

- introducing market salary rates to replace minimum salary level from September 2009 to ensure that overseas workers are paid at least the same as Australian workers;

- increasing the minimum salary level for visa holders by 4.1 per cent from July 1 to ensure that the overseas workers do not fall below Australian conditions;

- increasing the English language skills to for all trades and chefs and lower skilled occupations from 14 April 2009;

- introducing formal trade assessments from July 1 for all trades and chefs from countries that are not low risk countries (ie: countries that do not have access to Electronic Travel Authorities);

- a requirement that employers attest to a strong record of employing local labour and non discriminatory employment practices;

- developing formal training benchmarks for sponsors; and

- requiring ASCO 5-7 (lower skilled) occupations to have labour agreements.

The Rudd Government's worker protection laws come into effect in September 2009 which strengthens the integrity of the temporary skilled working visa program by ensuring overseas workers are not exploited or used to undermine local wages and conditions.

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