Demand for 457 Visas for IT Workers Increases by 50 Percent

Post date: Oct 15, 2009 6:16:57 AM

The demand for highly skilled foreign IT workers being sponsored by Australian employers under the 457 visa category has risen by up to 50 percent in more than a year, says reports.

According to the recently released Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Annual Report 2010-11, the number of Australian 457 visas granted for skilled workers in the IT sector had increased, with 5,430 457 visas issued and developer programmers were named as the top nominated occupation for the year.

A 457 visa is a temporary work visa that allows overseas workers sponsored by an employer to remain in Australia for up to four years. The 457 visa is currently the most common pathway skilled nationals to work in Australia. The report found there was a 117.6 percent increase in the number of visas granted to IT business analysts in the year to August 31, compared with the same time the previous year. There was also a 38.6 percent jump in Australian visas granted to software engineers during the same period. In recent times, the federal government tightened the supply of 457 visas by creating labour agreements. The on-hire industry can only employ a skilled worker under a labour agreement, which requires the labor hire and employment process to be managed more closely than before.

Peoplebank’s chief executive, Peter Acheson, said that companies seeking specialist IT skills from offshore had risen rapidly since July last year. “Since about the middle of last year through to now there has been a dramatic increase in demand for people on 457 visas,” he said. “It has been in the areas that have been notoriously tight: SAP people, those with strong experience in managing major projects and more management-type skills.” Peoplebank is one of a small number of companies that has a labour agreement for IT and has the ability to bring IT workers to Australia through the 457 skilled migration program.

“We went through a period, coming out of 2009, where the granting of visas was relatively slow, but it is pretty quick now,” Mr Acheson said. He said global companies that supplied skills to the National Broadband Network also had little difficulty in attracting foreign staff to work on the project.

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