Australian immigration sees increase in 457 visa workers

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As Australia's skills shortages worsens, nearly 4,600 foreign workers have found jobs in Queensland, and more employers are set to take advantage of the 457 visa in the coming year. According to Australia's Department of Immigration, the number of foreign workers in Queensland has increased 70 percent on the previous year.

The data also shows that there were 83,290 foreign workers in Australia under the 457 visa scheme which is designed to allow entry of foreign workers to temporarily fill skills gaps.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry general manager Nick Behrens said the immigration increase could also reflect the huge number of resource projects and the demand for high level skills.

"The demand for 457 workers is often because of the disinclination of Australians to travel to the regions," said Behrens. "If an employer needs to source workers overseas, it's because they can't get workers here.''

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the number of 457 visas granted from July to the end November 2011 was 51.6 percent higher than the same period in 2010.
In Queensland alone, the number of 457 visa workers jumped from 2,890 in 2010, to 4,570 in 2011.

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