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THE Migration Council Australia has released a landmark report on the 457 visa program that analyses a survey of 3800 visa holders and 1600 businesses across Australia using their labour.
The report, “More Than Temporary: Australia’s 457 visa program,” reveals that 457 workers have a high level of job satisfaction, demonstrating that they are integrating well into the Australian workforce.
Migration Council Australia’s chief executive Carla Wilshire said the findings showed that the 457 visa program is critical in keeping Australia competitive in an era when industry is global and 98 percent of innovation happens outside of Australia.
“Four out of five multinational companies are using 457 visa holders to train and develop Australian workers,” Ms Wilshire said.
“The survey results reinforce the message that skills-transfer and knowledge from 457 visa holders play an important role in building Australia’s human capital.”
“Temporary migration does not just fill skills shortages, it addresses skills deficits and plays a central part in workplace development at the enterprise level,” she said.
The report also confirmed that 85pc of employers were satisfied with the scheme, and showed that most employers were using the program to fill skills shortages.
The report did identify some compliance issues pointing to the need to strengthen the monitoring framework.
“It is concerning that 2pc of the program reported incomes less than the threshold income set by regulation,” Ms Wilshire said.
The report recommended that a price signal be introduced to encourage business to hire Australian workers, providing funds to beef up compliance efforts and provide services to 457 workers in need.
“While the vast majority of 457 visa holders indicated they were settling into Australia well, the focus needs to be on spouses and dependents,” she said.
“Having a spouse that works makes it more likely that 457 visa holders will stay in Australia and extending support services on a needs-basis ensures we capture their skills.”
The report details that more than 70pc of 457 visa holders intend to become permanent residents in the future.
Ms Wilshire said this response spoke to the recent transformation in Australian immigration policy.
“We are seeing a sustained move towards a ‘two-step’ migration program where demand from employers drives immigration,” she said.
The report can be viewed here.
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