Large Australian firm wants more temporary overseas workers

25 August 2008


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Australia's largest project development and contracting company wants the government to extend the nation's temporary 457 visa scheme across all categories of workers, according to Australia's ABC News.

Leighton Holdings chief executive officer Wal King said that his company has more than 500 employees working for them under 457 visas. King said that the program is very effective at alleviating skills shortages -- a statement supported by recent government findings.

Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIaC) recently announced new data showing a 27 percent increase in the temporary 457 visa program for the 2007-08 financial year.

DIaC said the figures "highlighted the importance of the program in delivering skilled labor to employers across a wide range of professions and industries."

However, King stated that certain classes of workers, such as truck drivers, are excluded from the program -- even though they are desperately needed.

"The labor market should be completely opened up," he said.