Review supports changes to 457 visa processing to speed up intake
- 20 March, 2008 10:26
The federal government is undertaking a review of Australia's immigration programs to address Australia's worsening skills shortage.
Programs under review include 457 visas which are issued to overseas workers temporarily sponsored by employers to work in Australia.
The review is being undertaken by a Ministerial advisory panel with a spokesperson from the office of the Minister for Immigration, Chris Evans, confirming changes to 457 visas are under consideration.
Changes include allowing employers to speed up the visa process to beef up the availability of professionals such as engineers and IT workers.
Australia's business community has been actively seeking a rise in the number of temporary visas issued to workers, particularly in Western Australia where mining companies claim the annual intake desperately needs to increase.
The number of visas issued has ballooned in recent years with more than 46,000 workers receiving permits last financial year.
The federal government's migration program is running at record levels bringing in 145,000 in 2007.
Also last year 457 visas to IT professionals jumped 35 per cent while the number of engineers migrating to Australia doubled.
According to a submission from the WA government, the state will need a further 60,000 workers in the next 10 years.
The proposals will be considered by the Minister next month when the panel completes its report.