SKILLED migration demand has declined in Australia over the past 12 months with the Department of Immigration’s latest report revealing a 39.9% decrease in 457 visa applications.

According to the Subclass 457 Quarterly Report, 49,150 primary visa applications were lodged in the 2013-14 financial year, down 39.9% against 2012-13 figures.

The number of 457 visa applications granted declined by 24.2% in 2013-14, from 68,480 to 51,940.

Hospitality continued to lead demand, with cooks representing the largest portion of total 457 visas granted at 5.2%, up from 4.4% in 2012-13. Café and restaurant managers recorded the second largest number of primary visa grants at 4.0%, with developer programmers in the IT sector the third largest group at 3.7%.

The resource industry showed a marked decline in the use of 457 visas, with grants in the sector reducing from 4,630 to 2,670 in the past 12 months, representing a year-on-year fall of 42.3%.

The resource industry now employs just 6,380 457 visa holders – or 5.86% of the total skilled migrant workforce.

Speaking to the West Australian newspaper today, AMMA executive director, policy and public affairs Scott Barklamb said skilled migration demand is clearly responding to current labour market trends in the mining, oil and gas sectors.

“Contrary to the misinformation in ongoing union scare campaigns, both the mining and construction industries have almost halved their use of 457 visa workers,” Mr Barklamb said.

“This proves the 457 program is responsive to changing industry skills demand and broader labour market trends.

“As labour demand has eased, demand for international skilled labour has fallen.”

Mr Barklamb also said the fall followed the removal of the individual business cap for 457 visa applications earlier this year, which had previously drawn false warnings of an uncontrollable influx of foreign skilled workers.

To view the full article, published in the West Australian on 26 August 2014, click here.

To view the full report from the Department of Immigration, click here.