Publish Date: Mar 26, 2013

The employer group that represents the mining industry in Australia, the Australian Mines and Metals Association has warned the government against making changes to the current arrangements for bringing people into Australia on subclass 457 visas.

A senior officer at the AMMA reminded the government that the subclass 457 visa program is important to the supply of suitably qualified personnel to the mining industry in Australia and cautioned against imposing any requirements that would make it more costly to recruit foreign workers or increase the time it would take to bring those workers to Australia.

It was reported that the senior officer stressed it was "an absolute fact that our industry cannot source all of the skilled people it needs domestically".

The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group was reported by as describing the use of subclass 457 visas as being an "economic shock absorber" that was designed to respond flexibly to changes in labour market conditions.

In response to the review, our senior immigration lawyer, Michael McCrudden, said “The review has the potential to make it a lot harder for employers to recruit foreign workers quickly. Imposing an obligation on employers to demonstrate that there is a shortage of skilled labour, or effectively labour market test, would represent a significant obstacle to bringing foreign workers into Australia.”

Any changes to the subclass 457 visa program will be in addition to the changes that were implemented in response to the Global Financial Crisis and the concerns that existed at the time about its implications for unemployment in Australia. 

These previous changes included the introduction of a requirement that temporary workers be employed on conditions that are no less favourable than those of Australian workers and raised the English-language requirement. It is possible that further changes will be made to these criteria.

Our senior immigration lawyers work closely with our commercial clients and provide them with comprehensive advice on the recruitment and retention of foreign workers. If you want advice from our senior migration lawyer, Michael McCrudden, please contact him on +61 2 8268 4000 or by email:

Article written February 2013. The law may have changed when you read this. Phone us for up-to-date advice.
Let us help you. Phone: +61 2 8268 4000 or Book a conference