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Rudd government to conduct 'review' as 457 visas as annual intake set to reach 130,000

The ABC reports that the Rudd Government has ordered a review of the 457 visa scheme for foreign workers.

The same report cites Heather Ridout of the Australian Industries Group warning against any action that might ‘stem the flow’ of workers to Australia.

Meanwhile, Jewel Topsfield of The Age reported yesterday that the number of 457 visas granted has jumped from 39,500 in 2003-04 to more than 100,000 in 2007-08.

Sounds like - far from being stemmed - the flow has become a flood.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is running a campaign (see also below) on its web site against the abuse of 457 visas and points out the corrosive effect that the scheme is having on the employment of apprentices in Australia. It strikes me that whatever the causes of Australia’s skills crisis at present, one sure way of making it worse is to make it easier to engage skilled tradespeople from overseas as an alternative to taking on apprentices.

Anyone concerned about the effect that 457 visas are having on Australia's local skills base could do worse than to support the AMWU’s initiative (see below).

What you can do: Visit AMWU's stop 457 visa exploitation page and send e-mail to the The Minister for Immigration.


If you go to the Amalgamated Manufacturing Workers' Union's (AMWU) site (see also above) and click on campaigns, you can send messages to parliamentarians on a number of issues, notably (as well as 457 visas) to Iemma on the privatisation of electricity.

It's a good site.

Thanks Dave,

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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