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How Indian IT professionals Are using 457 Visa’s To Take Australian Jobs

How Indian IT professionals Are using 457 Visa’s To Take Australian Jobs

The huge – and growing – number of Indian IT workers entering Australia on so-called 457 visas and paid low salaries by Australian standards is blocking thousands of highly-skilled Australian IT experts from gaining jobs, according to a study by the  Australian Population Research Institute.

The institute is an independent, non-profit research organisation housed at the University of NSW. Its report, Immigration Overflow: Why It Matters, was prepared by Bob Birrell, Ernest Healy and Bob Kinnaird.

Quoting government figures, it says that in 2015-16 alone, a total of 7452 computer analysts, programmers and networkers were granted a 457 visa, which doesn’t require employers to check first if local workers are available.

A further 9733 computer professionals came to Australia during the year on permanent skilled visas, pushing the total IT intake for that one year alone to more than 17,000. According to the report, most are Indian nationals sponsored by Indian IT service companies.

The Indian companies “have been successful in winning a major chunk of Australia’s IT consulting work on the basis of these 457 visa holders. They have succeeded in part because they are paying these professionals much lower salaries than the market rate for IT professionals in Australia,” the report says.

Many are paid A$53,900 or even less – compared with $100,000-plus for Australians doing similar work. No wonder Australian IT graduates find it almost impossible to find a job in the IT consulting arena.

The report notes: “The 17,185 IT professionals visa-ed in 2015-16 indicate the scale of the problem. By contrast, just over 5000 residents are currently completing undergraduate courses in IT each year.”

The report says the Indian IT service companies have been very successful in winning work in the design and implementation of IT software systems for Australian businesses and governments. “One of the reasons for this success is that they import their own staff on temporary visas to do much of the work,” it adds.

The report says the Indian IT service company business model is built around using their India-based staff to provide the professionals needed for the work they are winning in Australia – and then offshoring as much of the work as possible back to low-cost India.

The report sums up: “The Turnbull Government has pushed a high-profile campaign to promote IT innovation in Australia. Yet right under its nose, the 457 visa program is facilitating the heist of a large chunk of advanced computing work.”

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