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457 visa workers in the WA resources industry: the benefits and costs for business, migrant families and the community

Australia has entered another resources boom necessitating a demand for skilled workers. The increased use of 457 visa workers is one solution, but one that is subject to considerable debate. This project aims to investigate the costs and benefits to business, migrant families, and the Australian community of using temporary 457 workers in the WA resources sector to influence Australian economic policy and practice.

Research questions:

  • What are the benefits to business, communities and migrant families employing 457 workers?
  • What are the costs to business, communities and migrant families employing 457 workers?
  • What are the issues encountered by business, migrant families and communities when employing 457 workers?
  • What support do business, migrant families and communities need when employing 457 workers?
  • What are the implications of the study findings for policy and practice?

Research methods:

The 12 month study uses a mixed mode data collection within a grounded theory methodology to:

  • Analyse Government Statistics between 2007-2012 to assess the number migrant workers and their families entering Australia on 457 visas.
  • Conduct 45 semi-structured interviews with 457 workers, employers and key stakeholders.
  • Generate a Cost Benefit Analysis of the issues associated with employing 457 workers.

Researchers:

Funding body:

Edith Cowan University Industry Collaboration Scheme grant – with contributions from the Australian Mines and Metals Association.

Industry partner:

Australian Mines and Metals Association

Timeline:

January 2012 - December 2012

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