“We need to keep nailing down the loose planks, not ripping up the floorboards,” so says Michael Easson chairman of the ministerial advisory council on skilled migration. He cited new research, to reject 457 visa rort claims announced by Immigration Minister, Brendan O’Connor two weeks ago.
Mr. Easson, warned against “unhealthy rhetoric” in the 457 visa program debate, and said that only a “small proportion” were abusing the system.
He was countering Immigration Minister, Brenda O’Connor claims when he originally stated, that over “10,000” were abusing the skilled workers program. Business leaders around the country have refuted this saying his claims are “weak and misleading”.
This is all standard pre-election bun fighting. Mr. O’Connor has since retracted his statements saying, “I’ve sought to estimate what I think is the appropriate number. We don’t have an exact, precise figure.”
There are currently 105,000 skilled foreign workers in Australia on 457 visas, however alarms raised by the Australian government were countered from the Migration Council of Australia’s recent report.
Despite the government’s insistence that there are still many abusing the 457 visa scheme, Mr. Easson states that the visa rort debate is “healthy”, as it “calls to attention” necessary changes in immigration policy since the war.
However, the top migration adviser also said, “But what has been unhealthy has been some of the rhetoric and suggestions the program is out of control. It isn’t.”
Mr. Easson said the report revealed very little problems, with only up to 3-4% glitches in the system, which is “to be expected with a major program.”
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also agreed with Mr. Easson saying there was no need for excessive change.
“This survey evidence provides little support for claims that the program needs a major revision, but some evidence that fine-tuning is needed,” said ACCI director of employment and training Jenny Lambert.