Australian visa hopefuls urged to check they're still eligible
WORKERS considering a move 'Down Under' have been urged to check they're still eligible for a visa amid fears the rules may have been tightened.
Temporary skilled-worker visas, known as 457 visas, which many Irish emigrants opt for, have become a political bugbear for allegedly helping to undercut wage rates by supplying cheap labour.
And Australia's new Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has announced a crackdown on the programme.
Edwina Shanahan, from migration firm Visafirst.com, said major changes had already been noted over the past 12-months in the visa programme.
"If people had looked at going previously on the visa programme and were eligible, they need to check again now and reassess the situation," she urged. "Things are changing with emigration." But Ms Shanahan said the changes were not necessarily negative, with new rules to ensure workers on a skilled visa were paid the same as their Australian counterparts.
Figures show the average 457 visa holder was earning AUS$82,900 (€65,000) at the start of the year.
"While it makes it more expensive for the employe, it gives a safeguard for the Irish person that they will be receiving the same rate," Ms Shanahan said.
"It is bad for those who haven't got the qualifications as there is a lot more paperwork required but you will be treated the same once you get it."
The list of various jobs applicable for the state-sponsored temporary 457 visa are being frequently updated by the Australian States.
It is estimated between 30,000 and 35,000 will travel to Australia for work this year.
The Australian Government recently passed the regulations to increase the visa application charges, with the working holiday visa and the skilled worker 457 visa rising by €68 to €292 and from €84 to €364 respectively.