Residents and employers on the north coast of New South Wales will have the opportunity to connect with officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) as they conduct a series of visits to the region between August 23 and 25.
The localities of Lismore, Grafton and Coffs Harbour will all be visited by DIAC officers, giving locals the opportunity to organise meetings and gain access to professional advice.
Department officials will also be encouraging long-term residents to consider becoming Australian citizens by providing them with detailed descriptions on the processes, as well as giving businesses information on the requirements of working visas.
A spokesman for the DIAC expanded on the focus of the visits, asserting: "Our regional visits attract a variety of people, ranging from small business owners who may be having difficulty finding local staff with the right experience, to students and individuals who are seeking advice."
Specialists will be on hand to discuss the options available to local employers interested in sponsoring skilled migrant workers, as well as the recent changes to departmental requirements, visa conditions and the new processing policies .
One such proposed change is the introduction of Regional Migration Agreements (RMAs) which will streamline the process of hiring migrant workers.
The RMAs are geographically-specific arrangements between businesses, unions, councils and other stakeholders that relates to the conditions of 457 visa applications.
Known as a temporary skilled migration visa, it is designed to allow businesses based in Australia to take on international workers with particular skill sets that may not be present within the local labour force.
The foreign employees gain the benefit of working overseas, while the companies who sponsor them gain access to new levels of talent that may allow them to remain internationally competitive.
Companies considering the use of a 457 visa would also do well to consult with an experienced firm of immigration lawyers to gain an legal understanding of the departmental requirements.
The sponsorship process can be time consuming, sometimes taking many months for an application to be fully approved.
Many of the fees and payments to the department required are non-refundable, meaning that if a visa request is denied for some reason, the money cannot be reimbursed.
To help give an application the best possible chance, companies and individuals could do well to consult with a trusted migration lawyer, who can assist in collating the required documentation and give advice on the applicants' legal options.