3) Other factors contributing to increased employer take-up of 457 visas include record low unemployment, genuine skills and labour shortages in some sectors such as resources, and a large and growing supply of temporary residents in Australia on other visas who are willing to take up 457s.
The gazetted minimum salary for 457s is reviewed annually.
Do not prohibit the displacement of Australian staff and their replacement by 457 visa holders (either before or after the employer engages 457s), or local staff being required to train their 457 visa-holder replacements.
DIMA enforced tighter rules in this area from March 2004, including stricter enforcement of the rule that recruitment companies sponsoring 457s must be the 'direct employer' of the 457 visa holder, with full responsibility for salary payment to the 457 visa holder, and day-to-day supervision, among other things.
From March 2004, time limits were imposed on 'benching' 457s.
Until recently, 457 rules also did not require 457s to have any minimum English language skills (a serious occupational health and safety issue in higher-risk occupations) or to have their qualifications assessed by an Australian accrediting body, unlike skilled migration in the permanent residence visa program.
The Minister's statement said that DIMA would 'consult with industry on the detailed implementation of these changes', but made clear that the new language requirements for 457s would be decided by the sponsoring employer, and not by objective testing by language testing bodies, as in the permanent skilled migration program:
Between 2001 and 2005, the stock of 457s was fairly stable at between 29-31,000 persons, even though 457 visa grants rose by 8,500 or 30 per cent over roughly the same period.
Among other things, this means that for many employers the cost of hiring 457s does not include search and recruitment of 'overseas personnel'; and the supply pool for 457 visas within Australia is growing, as the stock of these temporary residents grows.
DIMA data provides no evidence on the skill sets of 457s in ICT (and other fields), because it has either not been collected by DIMA, or if collected, has not been analysed.
The business long-stay or subclass 457 visa is Australia's main temporary visa for employer-sponsored skilled persons.
ACTU and ALP concerns on the 457 visa include 'that unscrupulous employers are using the employer-sponsored visa as a means to drive down wages and conditions of employment', with visas being approved at wages below market rates.