- Created on Thursday, 28 March 2013 02:34
Written by Editorial staff
The prime minister’s assertion that there has been systematic rorting of the 457 immigration visasystem has been contradicted by the immigration department.
Early last month (February 3), a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) press release was published, entitled: 457 visa program responds well to economic needs.
The department’s own statistics show that for the second six months of 2012, there was actually a decline in applications for temporary visas.
“Temporary work visa applications have been heading downwards since June 2012 and have now declined for the last three consecutive months,” a DIAC spokesperson explained.
“Reinforcing this trend has been a drop in actual 457 visa grants since August. This movement demonstrates the 457 visa program’s responsiveness to the changing needs of the Australian economy.”
Ms Gillard told ABC radio yesterday (March 27) that there are problems with the system, asserting that jobs are being taken away from Australian employees.
“My focus has been on 457s because this is the area where there have been real concerns, for good reasons, that temporary overseas workers are being brought in and taking jobs where there were Australians ready, willing and able to do it,” she explained.
Shadow minister for immigration and citizenship Scott Morrison also explained to the public broadcaster that this crackdown is confusing, given former immigration minister Chris Bowen’s previous comments that the system is balanced.
A number of industries suggested that they will not benefit from the crackdown, including the IT sector and the motoring industry.
The Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF) has explained that mechanics and auto workers comprise a large number of foreign workers and reducing their ability to bring in foreign labour will result in cars taking longer to fix.
There is still currently a shortage of professionals in the automotive profession, AMIF boss Richard Dudley told CarsGuide, with 457 visas providing an opportunity to quickly fill the gaps that present themselves.
Some aspects of vehicle repair require specialised skills, Mr Dudley continued, and the 457 visa system provides an opportunity to find those who are specifically trained in body repair, vehicle painting, auto-electrics and mechanical repair.
The main reason for automotive businesses closing down each week is a lack of staff, according to the AMIF, with 457 workers able to fill those gaps in a bid to keep struggling workshops open.