Australia accommodates migrants with work rights

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The number of migrant arrivals in Australia with work rights has increased significantly over the years, which entails that the country can fill more job vacancies much easier. Data from the Department of Immigration show that from 2011, Australia has received around 400,000 migrants who were granted either a temporary working visa or a working holiday Australia visa. With the Australian government’s continuing support on skilled migration by keeping some skilled visas uncapped, more students and workers who want to build a permanent or temporary career in the country will be able to do so and contribute to the economy.

Migrants with work rights contribute to Australia's economy

Number of migrants with work rights increases

Migration numbers in Australia

Latest Department of Immigration data indicated that the number of holders of Australian visas with work rights had increased significantly in the past years. As of 30 September 2013, 166,000 held a working holiday Australia visa, while around 200,000 held 457 visas. These numbers equaled to 14% and 12% increases, respectively.

In records gathered by the Department between 1998 and 2013, 457 visa holders were noted to contribute up to $1.6 trillion to the country’s gross domestic product. This contribution to the national income was seen to have tripled in 2013 from $0.4 trillion in 1998.

April 2013 records also revealed the top occupations and countries of these working visa holders. Temporary working visas were granted to 2,400 cooks, the most common occupation. Chefs and restaurant managers, two other common food-related occupations, received 2,360 visa grants, making the outcome for the food industry jump to 4,760. These occupations were also enlisted to have the most number of visa grants: project administrator, general medical practitioner, marketing specialist, university lecturer, specialty manager, ICT business analyst, mechanical engineering technician, general accountant, management consultant, customer service manager, and resident medical officer.

As for the top source countries for skilled migrants, India occupied the top spot with almost 12 thousand citizens granted a working visa. The United Kingdom was second with 11,310, while Ireland came third with 5,590. The Philippines, the United States, China, Canada, France, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Nepal, Malaysia, South Africa, and Japan also ranked to the top in the records for the year ending April 2013.

The role of migrants with work rights

Skilled workers with temporary working visas and tourists with working holiday visas (or work and holiday visas) compose the population of migrants with work rights in Australia. Skilled workers usually occupy long-term positions in several industries in cities and regional areas, while tourists take temporary jobs in various places where they are travelling. Aside from occupying skilled and urgent positions in Australian business, these migrants also help fill seasonal positions in the agriculture industry.

The role of working migrants extend from filling vacant and crucial positions to helping businesses grow. When these migrants become part of the workforce, they bring their culture with them, allowing business owners to address culture-related issues effectively. Migrants are also able to share their knowledge to local Australians (and vice versa), and together with the training provided by employers, the entire Australian workforce acquire a higher level of skill in their particular industry.

The Australian government’s migration policy ensures that “a highly educated addition to the nation’s skilled workforce” to fill skills shortages is filtered and accommodated. This entails that professionals become contributors to this workforce, thereby improving its quality as well as the outputs produced.

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