The Department of Immigration has, from 1 July 2008, established 3 new Centres of Excellence to deal with the increasing demand for overseas workers by Australian companies to meet skills shortages.
This means that applications for temporary skilled (457) visas will be processed faster and more efficiently at the three new dedicated centres now up and running in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Additional staff have been trained to man the centres and existing staff have undergone refresher training.
The 457 visa allows employers to employ skilled overseas workers to fill positions in Australia on a temporary basis for a period of between three months and four years.
More than 100 000 subclass 457 visas were granted in 2007-08.
Senator Evans said ‘The 457 program is critical to meeting the current labour market demands and the new Centres of Excellence will continue to improve the effectiveness of the processing of visas’