The unemployment rate in the state of Victoria has risen in the past year but almost 14,000 457 visa holders have still managed to find work in a variety of occupations.
The latest Australian immigration data shows almost 900 construction workers and teachers have each found work in Victoria as well as over 300 doctors, 500 chefs and 240 accountants.
There has been significant call for Australians to be given preference for any job opportunities but consistent studies, including one from the University of Melbourne says Australians’ reluctance to travel within a state, let alone interstate, often mean foreign labour is the only option for many businesses to combat skill shortages, especially when the skill is quite specific.
Despite a rising unemployment rate, Andrew Aston, MD at the Morgan Consulting recruitment agency says Victoria is still desperately short of clinical healthcare professionals as well as engineers, IT specialists and digital marketing professionals.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen denied claims the 457 program could be used by some employers to avoid training and higher rate costs of local labour.
“The 457 visa allows businesses to employ overseas workers in designated occupations only,” said the minister.
“The program cannot be used by a business as a substitute for training and employing Australian workers.”
Shadow employment minister Susan Ley says the 457 program actually helps Australian workers as the temporary nature of the 457 program means businesses can be kept open by foreign labour while domestic labour receives adequate training:
“We need policies that enable businesses to stay alive in this tough environment. If we need some 457 workers to achieve this, it helps, rather than hinders, the protection of Australian jobs.”
Thanks to the Visa bureau who helped contribute towards this article.