The Top 457 Visa Occupations Last Quarter

When most Australians think of 457 visas the first occupations that come to mind will be ‘mining’ followed by ‘white collar jobs’. The actual application statistics from this subclass reflect quite the opposite and suggest a wide range of sought after professions, the top two of which are not white-collar at all!

Below shows the Primary applications in the final quarter of 2013. It highlights that the top 2 occupations (which combined translate to over 10% of overall granted applications) relate to the hospitality industry. In fact, hospitality, termed ‘accommodation and food services’ by DIBP, consists of 13.32% of all 457 visa holders while mining is only 5.78%! Other key industries are construction, healthcare (a booming sector) and retail trade.

457 Visa Nominated Occupations

The two main countries where 457 visa holders come from are India and the UK which combined is 42% of overall applications granted. This is followed by Ireland, China the USA and Philippines. Interestingly UK citizens are four times more likely to move to Western Australia compared to Indian citizens. This is part may explain the large drop in UK 457 visa holders with the mining boom within WA reducing significantly due to lower resource prices. Indian nationals are more likely to move to Victoria compared to other states which may be the fact that the IT jobs that they are seeking exist within this state.

So Why Do Cooks Apply For The 457 Visa?

The simple answer to this is ‘demand’.

The restaurant sector has been growing at a rapid rate over the past decade and demand for labour greatly exceeds the available domestic supply. There is also a demand for international chefs who can cook a wide variety of cuisine.  34% of these Cooks/Chefs move to Melbourne (VIC) which is considered the food capital of Australia, followed by NSW and QLD.

Chef On 457 Visa

There is a surprising downward trend when it comes to 457 visa grants with a recent blog post showing a 38% drop in 457 visa applications from its peak levels in mid-2012. This has caused a large drop in grants and the flow-on is expected to get progressively worse with fewer offshore applications leading to a lower total for onshore 457 visa holders in future (as these visa holders renew their visa).

Subclass 457 Visa Grants

The decline in working visa applications raises the question: Will Australia be able to fill these vacancies from existing labour within the country? If this is the case, then it will help lower unemployment and show that the education and training sector has effectively highlighted skill needs in the country and addressed them. If on the other hand this is not the case, it will lead to many employers becoming increasingly frustrated that they can’t fill vacancies which may lead to problems of not having enough employees thus limiting their growth. Additionally, this could lead to wage pressure brought about by the increasing scarcity leading employees to demand higher wages.

Overall, most Australians believe the temporary skilled migrant visa programs like the subclass 457 visa scheme should only be used for positions which Australian employers cannot fill with a suitable Australian worker.

The concern though is with not only the steady decline of the skilled 457 visa program, but also other skilled visas such as the 485 visa – are Australian employers really finding the employees they need onshore or just giving up? Certainly numerous other factors such as political pressures, increased visa application costs (which first occurred on the 1st of July 2013) and some changes to visa regulations including means testing have in-part led to this huge slump. With a new government now in place within Australia and a revised senate due to start in July 2014, it is highly possible that a review of the system will occur and changes will be made to halt the decline occurring right now since unemployment is actually decreasing within the country.