Immigration Minister: Brendan O'Connor
Irish emigrants stand to lose out if proposals to change the 457 Sponsored Visa system get the go ahead.
The Australian Minister for Immigration has signaled that the Gillard government plans to cut the number of sponsored visas available in an effort to protect local workers.
Brendan O'Connor said the government would be introducing reforms to protect the efficiency of the 457 visa system.
The new rules would make it conciderably more difficult for Irish workers to be sponsored and for companies to sponsor Irish people.
The Minister said that the fact that the number of applications for 457′s had “outstripped national employment growth” has prompted the government to act.
The news will come as a blow to many Irish workers who are seeking sponsorship by Australian firms to escape the Irish recession.
Ireland leads the take up of 457 visas in per capita terms so any dilution of the scheme will have a disproportionate effect on Irish applicants.
Mr O’Connor said that reforms would be introduced through administrative, regulatory and legislative means.
He said that there was situations where Australian workers had been discriminated against because of an abuse of the programme.
“Firstly, we’ll ensure the employers seeking to bring out applicants will have to demonstrate that there is a genuine job that fits within the eligibility of the 457 visa.
“Secondly, we’ll ensure that they have to demonstrate where they are genuinely training local workers and where they are investing in that training".
The Minister also said that restrictions in labour hire or on-hire arrangements need to be looked at.
For example where an employer may bring out an applicant and sponsor that applicant and then send that employee to an area where there are no skilled shortages.
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