An increasing number of people are being granted government sponsored 457 visas to enter Australia for work. Statistics revealed recently show that more than 2,600 government sponsored visas were granted in the year 201-2016. Most of the public service 457 visas were granted to health workers to cover a range of work that domestic workers were unable to fill. Most of those granted were for general practitioners with 1600 visas issued, followed by medical officers where there were a further 280 visas issued. Other were granted to nurses and health sector managerial staff. The government have faced criticism over the number of visas granted for government jobs but a spokes person has responded to the criticism stating: “Sponsors filing an application for a 457 visa, including other governmental departments, are required to provide sufficient evidence that the local labour market has been tested. This prevents Australian citizens missing out on the opportunity to apply for a job vacancy.” Opponents to the government policy of granting these visas in the health sector disagree with this statement and state that such tests are not compulsory and that there is, in reality no shortage of doctors in Australia. The situation in reality is an over-supply in highly populated areas and an under supply in more rural areas. Opponents go on to say that this is the situation that needs to be addressed in order to reduce the number of visas for the health care sector. Tasmania is particularly hit by this skills gap with Immigration Department data showing that many medical vacancies are filled and occupied by foreign workers holding a 457 visa. Tasmania also has skills shortages in the education sector, and in the hospitality sector. Across the board visas being issued to foreign workers has increased by over 40% across Tasmania, highlighting the plight of rural and remote areas of the vast country.
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