How new Australian laws affect British migrants

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British nationals constitute one of the highest migrant populations in Australia. In fact, 2011-2012 data from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) showed that the UK ranked as the top source of migrants for Employer Sponsored, Business (Long Stay), and Visitor visas to Australia.

Until recently, changes to visa laws brought in by the previous Australian government made it more difficult for many applicants to obtain a visa to Australia, including British applicants. Thankfully, the newly appointed Australian government appears to be preparing to undo some of the recent harsh changes and implement policies which are much friendlier to overseas skilled workers who are applying for Australian visas.

Effects of new Australian laws to British migrants

New government direction better for employer sponsored visa applicants

Previous government laws and their implications

One law that affected British nationals, especially those wanting to apply for an Australian work visa, was the requirement for employers to seek local workers first for a considerable amount of time before resorting to foreign labour. Though this law had passed parliament, it never actually came into effect.

If this law came into effect, it would have made hiring procedures take longer, which in turn would have put a dent on the number of skilled visas processed.

The (new) Conservative approach

With the Tony Abbott administration now taking charge, the so-called harsh policies of the previous government are expected to be wound back and therefore not have the adverse effects that they otherwise would have on overseas skilled applicants.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison spoke strongly about straightening issues out, especially on the 457 visa. He has indicated his direction will be to cut the visa scheme’s red tape and ensure that skilled workers from overseas will not be subject to the “Labour Market Testing” that the previous government had planned.

The 457 visa

The Australian temporary skilled visa is popular with British professionals, technicians, managers, and tradespeople. After getting to Australia on the fast processing 457 visa, many of these experts also end up settling in the country eventually via a variety of permanent visa options.

The scheme also helps the growing IT industry in the country to obtain people with the right skills. According to Migration Council Australia, the 457 visa has an essential role in building Australia’s human capital, saying: “Temporary migration does not just fill skills shortages; it addresses skills deficits and plays a central part in workplace development at the enterprise level.”

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