457 visa reform win for mining, AMMA says

 A revision of the 457 visa program is a win for Australian workplaces, according to resources industry employer group AMMA.

Last week the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced revisions to the sponsorship accreditation criteria, which will apply from today, and means employers will no longer have to include sponsored migrants in Fair Work Australia collective agreements.

Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, said this new accreditation scheme "will continue to ensure that the 457 program is responsive to the economic cycle and provides a flexible avenue for employers to fill immediate and short-term skill vacancies, while maintaining opportunities and conditions for Australian workers".

The announcement comes as four in five Western Australian companies say they are planning to hire overseas workers in the next 12 months, according to audit firm KPMG.

The KPMG study said the influx of skilled migrants was due to the growing skills shortage problem across the country.

AMMA migration services director Geoff Bull welcomed the news.

"The efficiencies that have been created by DIAC will see the sponsored migration program become an invaluable tool for easing the skills shortage on resources employers," Bull said.

He went on to say "as many resources projects come online in the next few years, skilled migrants will play an essential role."

However he clarified that "the resources industry doesn’t view skilled migrants as a long term alternative to Australian workers".

Changes to the scheme have seen the removal of the $180 000 salary threshold.

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