'Unduly influence': 457 visa system open to abuse

THE 457 visa program allows "for vested interests to unduly influence" the types of occupations which can be added to the list, a Federal Government report on Migrant Intake has found.

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The report, released this week, shows there are more than 600 occupations on the list from doctors, nurses and surgeons to bricklayers, plumbers, fitter and turners, gas fitters, welders and electrician.

The 457 visa program, which enables companies to recruit skilled workers from overseas, was a key issue for the Labor campaign during the recent Federal Election.

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Labor's candidate for Flynn Zac Beers headed the campaign, which promoted, "Aussie jobs first. Stop the foreign 457 visa rorts. At this election, put Ken O'Dowd, Mr Turnbull and LNP last".

But according to Gladstone's largest employer last year, Bechtel, the construction company which built the three Curtis Island liquefied natural gas plants, it only employed 18 workers on 457 visas out of 13,600 workers at the start of 2015.

That's when there was a stronger workforce than there currently is.

The report showed that there were close to 190,000 temporary 457 visa holders in Australia last September.


And admitted some of the criticisms of the system needed to be addressed.

It highlighted the process for adding occupations to the list and a limit should be added to how many visas were issued for some occupations.

"The Australian Government has supported these recommendations, and their implementation is expected to lead to better identification of occupations (and regions) where shortages do exist," the report read.

"And to allow more granular decisions on whether local workers are able to meet the demand for those occupations."

The report also found the ready access to skilled immigrant labour dampened employers' incentives to invest in training of the local workforce.

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