The government of Australia has announced that it will be cracking down on the issuing of 457 visas for the fast food industry. There has been huge political debate surrounding immigration over the past few years and the Australian government is under huge pressure to tighten visa regulations and immigration into the country. This announcement is part of this larger drive towards tighter immigration controls.
The reports say that Australia will effectively end the issuing of foreign visas for fast food businesses. Government sources have reported that over 500 foreign workers have been granted 457 visas to work in the fast food industry over the past five years and although this does not seem that many it is deemed unnecessary and taking jobs from the domestic Australian workforce.
The 457 visa is a four-year visa supposedly for short skill businesses allowing foreign workers to work and live with their families in Australia for up to four years. Employers are also only supposed to take workers on the 457 vires if they cannot find anyone already permanently resident in the country to fill the vacant position but there has been widespread criticism that some companies are using the visa to bring in cheap labor rather than highly skilled or short skilled labor.
It is said that McDonald's, KFC and other fast food operators have been using the 457 visas to bring people into Australia to work for them casting doubt that they would be unable to fill the positions from within the Australian workforce.
The announcement comes as part of a larger drive to overhaul the list of skills that is contained under the 457 visa application process so that it truly reflects the requirements of businesses operating in Australia and allows domestic workers to be able to find positions without foreign workers competing with them for the posts. With over 650 professions listed on the 457 visa, it is predicted that this will be reduced as part of this drive and as part of a wider crackdown on immigration to Australia. Whilst it is acknowledged that some industries are genuinely hindered by a labor and skill shortage it is hoped that these changes will help to identify those industries more easily and direct immigration to the areas where it is truly required.