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Number of working foreigners jumps 18% in Victoria

A massive influx of foreigners under 457 temporary employer sponsored visa  has seen 13,680 jobs taken up in Victoria by people from overseas. This comes as the jobless rate for the state has climbed to 5.4 per cent.

Under the criteria for this particular immigration visa, sponsored workers can come to Australia for a period of up to four years, bringing spouses or partners and dependent children.They however, must have a standard of English, and meet a list of criteria which must meet the satisfaction of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

As the state unemployment rose to 5.4 per cent, tied with South Australia for the third worst in the country, 870 construction workers, 890 teachers, 330 doctors, 500 cooks and 240 accountants have all been employed somewhere in Victoria as opposed to hiring locally.

Currently, the number of people working on a 457 visa in Australia makes up one per cent of the entire working force population.

Immigration minister Chris Bowen has told the Herald Sun that this was about filling a gap and not about ignoring Australian workers.

"The 457 visa allows businesses to employ overseas workers in designated skilled occupations only. The program cannot be used by a business as a substitute for training and employing Australian workers," he said.

But University of Melbourne workplace specialist Professor Peter Gahan has suggested to News Limited, that it's actually the opposite.

"It is significantly cheaper than investing in training for those skills and running the risk of them being poached by another employer.

It really is down to this mismatch of skills and supply of labour," he said.

It comes as the Weekly Times Now reports that there is a chronic jobs shortage in the agricultural and rural sector.

The current system is seeing a reduced number of candidates with seven jobs available for every one student graduating tertiary education with a degree related to the sector.

The desperate need for workers in rural jobs is seeing a call for a change in the legislation to the Working Holiday Visa Program. Under the current system, a backpacker can stay in Australia an extra 12 months if they work for three of them, in a rural area, no matter what the position. Changes could see workers stay and employers not have to face the prospect of hiring new staff.



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