Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash has announced an independent review of the 457 visa programme, which she describes as ‘warranted’ given the importance of the 457 programme to employers in industries and regions affected by skill shortages.
The review comes after a significant decrease in the number of lodgements that were recorded last year, down 37.9% from the previous year according to DIBP.
In her press release, Minister Cash said the aim of the review would be to provide recommendations as to ways in which the migration process could be simplified for employers and businesses, whilst ensuring the program is being used for its intended purposes.
‘The review will aim to provide recommendations on how to maintain the integrity of the 457 visa programme, while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business,’ she said.
‘This is in line with the government’s commitment to evidence based productivity reform.
Managing Director of Migration Solutions, Mark Glazbrook said that he is excited by the announcement, and is hopeful that a regional 457 visa would be identified as a solution.
‘The reintroduction of a regional 457 program would possibly see the removal of the ‘one size fits all’ national salary requirement in favour of regionally adjusted wages in line with the relevant award and market salary rates of pay,’ he said.
‘This would also provide far greater opportunities for international students who graduate in the VET sector. Improved flexibility with nominated occupations and reduced salary requirements that reflect standard wages specified in the relevant award would make the 457 visa more consistent with the permanent regional sponsored employer migration program, and support greater economic development in regional and low population growth areas of Australia.’
Minister Cash went on to say that the panel will be investigating important aspects of the 457 programme, such as non-compliance rates among sponsors, and assessing the existing sponsorship obligations that employers are required to adhere to.
The panel will be composed of migration industry representatives John Azarias and Katie Malyon, as well as Director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Peter McDonald, and Director of Employment, Education and Training at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jenny Lambert.