Not only has the number of applications increased, but figures released by the department indicate that the number of 457-visa granted to foreigners had also increased. In 1998 the Australian Department of Immigration processed 30,000 temporary work visas per annum. At the last audit, based on 2014’s figures, more than 120 000 visas had been processed that year.
The 457 visa allows migrants who are sponsored by an Australian business under standard business sponsorship or under a labour agreement with the Australian Immigration Department entry to work in Australia for up to 4 years. You will also need to meet various skills, language, and health requirements as well as undergo a background check.
In order to employ a worker on an Australian 457 visa the employer must be looking to fill a position on the Australian government's Skilled Occupation List, the employer must also demonstrate that they have a good record of employing Australian workers, and must have 'no relevant 'adverse information' against them; such as evidence of previous bad practice. In some situations, such as if the employer has negotiated a 'labour agreement' with the Australian government, labour market testing is not required.
Hospitality, IT, and science sectors saw the biggest rise in demand for the temporary work visa.
The popularity of this visa looks set to increase further. In the 9 months between June 2014 and March 2015 – the period the figures cover - 40,870 applications were made for the 457 visa, up by 15% on the 35,440 applications made in the same 9 month period ending March 2014.
Broken down by category the application increases were concentrated in accommodation and food services (37%), IT (31%), and professional, scientific and technical services (27%). Around 50% of the visa applicants were from India, the UK, and China.
According to the figures around 25% of 457 visa holders are foreign students and travellers.
The figures also revealed that Australia had experienced a surge in visa applications engineers from engineers.
The rise in applications for the 457 visa's professional, scientific and technical category is due to the shortage of engineers in Australia. According to the Australian Financial Review newspaper, over the last ten years the Australian economy has needed 20,000 new engineers per year; Australian universities only produce around 9500 engineering graduates each year.
The shortfall has been made up mainly by skilled migrants. 5935 457 visas have been granted to engineers since 2013. Engineering was taken off the Australian Employment Department's skills shortage list in that year, despite continued demand for workers with these skills.