The 457 work visas programme extended to foreign skilled workers are not in any way meant to fill jobs meant for the Australians, a new study revealed.
Rather, the program targets the hiring or employment of highly specialised or skilled workers in jobs that Australian workers do not have the expertise or simply cannot execute, initial findings of the study said. Part funded by the Australian Mines and Metals Association, the study was conducted by the Edith Cowan Law Faculty in Western Australia.
"Some of the skills required are so specialised and only taught in one or two institutions globally, that the skill-set required is simply not available," research leader and author Dr Susanne Bahn said, essentially debunking public perception that temporary migrant workers will reduce, if not totally steal, job opportunities for skilled Australian locals.
"Due to the lack of specialised skilled workers in Australia these companies are using their global workforce and employing them where and when they are needed."
Dr Bahn cited as an example the need for engineers.
Companies need engineers, "but very specialised engineers. I use the example of the helicopter engineers, that need up to six different tickets or licences to maintain the equipment," she said. These engineers, along with the training that equipped them, "is only available in the UK and France."
The temporary work visas issued to foreign migrant workers last up to four years, after which applicants may apply for permanent residency.
The final report will be released later this year.
To contact the editor, e-mail: