Report finds 457 scheme ‘working well: An Independent View:

Report finds 457 scheme ‘working well’

A new report shows that, in spite of concerns from Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that the 457 visa system is being misused, the temporary foreign worker scheme is actually working well.

According to findings released by the Migration Council Australia (MCA), a non-for-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the productive benefits of Australia’s migration programmes, 457 visa holders enjoy high levels of job satisfaction and integrate effectively into the workforce and into Australian society.

The report, which surveyed 3,800 457 visa holders and a further 1,600 businesses involved in the programme, found that 88 per cent of visa holders were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’, whilst more than seven in ten wished to become permanent residents in the future.

What’s more, the report also countered the Australian government’s fears that the programme is being abused at the expense of Australian-born worker, by revealing that four out of five multinational companies are using 457 visa holders to train and develop Australian workers.

“Temporary migration does not just fill skills shortages,” explains MCA chief executive officer Carla Wilshire. “It addresses skills deficits and plays a central part in workplace development at the enterprise level.”

However, the report did also find some evidence to support DIAC’s claims that there are some areas where the programme needs tightening. For example, 2 percent of visa holders receive less than the minimum wage amounts as specified in regulations, while more also needs to be done to help spouses and dependents of visa holders settled in the country.

The report comes as debate continues to rage about the future of the 457 visa programme in Australia. While the government and some unions believe the programme needs to be tightened to stop employers bringing in foreign workers for jobs that out-of-work Australians could do, business and labour groups state that overseas workers are an essential source of workers and without them the country’s economy would suffer.