Results of the 457 Visa Program 2014 Survey

In Australia 190,000 temporary migrants (either primary of secondary) currently are residing within Australia. Recent research by the migration council published on the 5th March 2014 in conjunction with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) looked at the trends of 3,800 temporary visa holders (such as the 457 visa) and 1,600 companies that sponsor these individuals.

March 2014 Statistics - 457 Visa

Some key findings were that:

1) 457 visa workers had high satisfaction levels (88% were satisfied with their employer relationship)
2) 71% of 457 visa holders want to be come an Australian permanent resident at the end of their temporary visa period
3) Employers were a fan of the 457 visa with an 85% satisfaction level
4) Only 2% of 457 visa holders were underpaid (based on the minimum income levels set by DIBP)
5) Union membership was low by 457 visa holders at 7%

The research also looked at how the skills that 457 visa holders bring to Australia are utilised with the March 2014 research finds showing that:
– 76% of 457 visa holders had trained other employees in the firm during their stay to date
– Just under 69% of employers deliberately hired 457 visa holders to transfer skills from the 457 visa holder to the Australian employees through training on the job
– Over 86% of 457 visa holder surveyed viewed their skills were being utilised.

The final piece of the research looked at how 457 visa workers were integrating into Australia with the findings:
i) A settling in score of 83.5% was averaged by these workers for how they had settled into Australia since moving to the country
ii) A key decision factor to staying in Australia comes down to the partner (when an application is made by a couple) and their employment status while in Australia
iii) 457 Visa holders were more likely to participate in hobbies and sports then permanent residents in Australia
iv) Non-english speaking background 457 visa holders (just over 18%) had faced some level of discrimination during their stay in Australia.

Editors Viewpoint Of The 457 Visa Research

There is very little research completed within the temporary migration sector so this recent report is welcomed to bring some facts into the ongoing political migration debate.

This report shows that temporary migrants are happy in Australia with a high level of job satisfaction and a feeling they are integrating well into Australia’s culture. These scores could be a key reason why 80% of multinational companies operating in Australia have employed individuals through the 457 visa scheme. The fact that the survey results also highlights that the 457 visa scheme is viewed as working with an 85% satisfaction level.

One key issue that politicians often voice is that employers abuse the system and hire non-skilled workers who are then underpaid. The results of this survey in part agree to this with 2% earning wage levels below the DIBP thresholds but this is still a very small percentage. A recommendation of the report was to possibly increase the 457 visa for employers to ensure they only hire skilled workers and look for suitable Australian candidates first but its hard to agree to this when the 457 visa application prices for employees has increased so dramatically and there are ongoing price increases for elements such as 457 visa health insurance. If such an increase does occur there should also be a decrease in employee application fees to find a more suitable balance.

Overall, the 457 visa scheme is working to help Australia fill it’s skill gaps and ensuring skills possessed overseas are brought to Australia and transferred to the existing workforce. These overseas workers are happy while working in Australia (with high work satisfaction levels) with many choosing to become permanent residents over time. Cost for the scheme including a balance between employer and employee application costs and visa requirements such as 457 visa health insurance should be reviewed. As migration becomes a central topic worldwide, having the 457 visa scheme to ensure the migration program helps meet Australia’s needs both now and in the future is becoming a necessity and should be expanded to help make Australia the ‘clever country’.