The success of the 457 visa program

Date: Sep 29, 2011

During the global financial crisis many Australian businesses found that demand for their products and services suffered a pronounced dip.

Subsequently, managers and department heads had to make decisions regarding reduced output, slower production rates and - ultimately - reduced levels of labour requirements.

This has had a trickle-down effect on the number of skilled migrant workers required by firms involved in a number of sectors - but this situation may soon be reversed.

In the 12 months before June 30, over 48,000 of the 457 visas were issued - a notable increase on the previous year.

For some this is not surprising - the number of skilled international workers required by local businesses tends to fluctuate in accordance with a number of economic indicators.

Two of the main measurable factors that can be used to track potential shifts in demand is the number of job ads posted each month and the current rate of unemployment - both of these indexes show a strong correlation with the amount of 457 applications submitted over time.

In the last year the number of applications for skilled migrant working visas has increased by 39.7 per cent - and the volume of submissions that receive approval went up by 38.2 per cent over last years figures.

A large amount of overseas employees were seeking work in New South Wales and Victoria, with a notable increase in the number of applications for workers in Western Australia.

Unsurprisingly, a majority of these positions were directly related to the growth in the mining and resources markets - with employers finding that the local labour market is sometimes unable to meet their needs.

In correlation with this, the amount of visas related to driving and operation of industrial machinery increased by 204.5 per cent over the last year.

The largest sector to record a reduction in the volume of applications was in industries involved in public administration - falling by 9.5 per cent.

Many businesses still stand to gain from hiring skilled migrant workers - especially those that find the employment environment to be such that local staff do not have the required skill-sets.

In these cases a migration lawyer will be able to help managers ascertain whether they qualify to apply for sponsorship of overseas workers.

An immigration lawyer can also provide an initial assessment of an application, potentially saving lost time and productivity as a result of repeated rejections.