Aussie row over 457 work visa abuse hots up

Aussie row over 457 work visa abuse hots up

Aussie row over 457 work visa abuse hots up

New Australian immigration supremo Brendan O’Connor’s announcement that temporary work visa 457 was open to widespread abuse has ignited parliamentary confrontations.

Accusations that the 457 visa is being used by Australian companies to employ overseas workers in jobs suitable for Aussie nationals involved claims that jobs were skilled in order to obtain the visas. In fact, the positions were unskilled and were given to cheap foreign labour.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is taking the stance that a visa system riddled with holes was inherited from the previous government, and believes Australian nationals are missing out on employment as a result. Her opposition counterpart Tony Abbott strongly disagrees, saying that the government is making use of the issue for political reasons and demonizing migrants as a result.

Following Gillard’s Sunday night speech which focused on jobs for nationals, Abbot told the media that her assault on foreigners was insulting to migrants who’d made a significant contribution to the country’s economy. O’Connor, clearly seeking the last word, is now promising changes to the 457 visas which will end the abuse.

Aussie trade unions are in favour of the changes, stating that 70,000 fewer construction jobs are on offer due to a 40 per cent rise in 457 visas issued in 2012. However, Australian businesses, especially in the IT sector, are complaining the new regime will cut the total of available jobs and damage the sector.

Julie Mills, representing an association of IT recruiting companies, believes that Aussie IT jobs may be outsourced to other countries including India as a result of further restrictions, resulting in even fewer jobs for local IT workers. Andy Cross, representing Ambition Recruitment, says that current and future demand is unlikely to be met by home-grown supply, adding that job applications from overseas should be actively encouraged.

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