12/08/2009 - 14:51

WA records 10% fall in overseas workers

12/08/2009 - 14:51

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The number of temporary skilled overseas workers coming to Western Australia dropped nearly 10 per cent in the 2009 financial year following changes implemented by the Rudd government and the global economic slowdown.

The number of temporary skilled overseas workers coming to Western Australia dropped nearly 10 per cent in the 2009 financial year following changes implemented by the Rudd government and the global economic slowdown.

 

The announcement is below:

 

There has been a significant drop in the numbers of temporary skilled overseas workers coming to Australia as a result of the global economic slowdown and changes implemented by the Rudd Government to ensure that the wages and working conditions of Australians are not undermined.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today released the State/Territory Summary Report for the Subclass 457 Business (Long Stay) Visa for the financial year to June 2009.

The report shows that:

- Primary applications lodged in 2008-09 were 11 per cent below 2007-08 and primary applications granted were 13 per cent below last year.

- Primary visa applications in June 2009 were 45 per cent lower than June 2008 and 40 per cent lower than in September 2008, before the global economic crisis hit.

- Of the top 15 occupations for primary applications granted, only registered nurses increased, up 18 per cent.

- Among the top 15 source countries for primary applications granted, only Ireland showed any growth with an increase of 8 per cent. All other top 15 countries declined by up to 32 per cent.

- There were 77 330 primary visa holders in Australia at 30 June 2009, compared to a peak of 83 130 at the end of February 2009.

- The average nominated base salary for Subclass 457 visa holders has increased by 6 per cent from last financial year to $77 500 while average total remuneration increased to $91 400.

New South Wales recorded the biggest decline in use of temporary skilled overseas workers, with a 24 per cent drop in primary applications, followed by Western Australia (9.5 per cent), Queensland (7.5 per cent) and Victoria (7.1 per cent).

South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded increases in primary applications.

"The Subclass 457 visa program is a demand driven scheme that has responded to the slowing economy and reduced demand in the Australian labour market," Senator Evans said.

"The Rudd Government's priority is to provide training and job opportunities for Australians but 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 to fill gaps on a temporary basis."

Changes announced to the Subclass 457 visa program this year will ensure that temporary skilled overseas workers are not employed ahead of local workers or used to undermine Australian wages and conditions. New worker protection laws that come into effect next month will also prevent exploitation of foreign workers and assist in improving workplace safety.

These measures include the implementation of formal skills assessments and an increase in the English language requirement for trade occupations from 1 July 2009; the introduction of a market-based minimum salary for temporary overseas workers from next month; and a requirement that employers of overseas workers have demonstrated commitment to employing local labour.

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