Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Faculty

Faculty of Regional and Professional Studies

School

School of Business (RPS)/Centre for Innovative Practice

RAS ID

15843

Comments

This article was originally published as: Bahn, S. T., Barratt-Pugh, L. G., & Yap, G. (2013). Workers on temporary 457 visas: Challenges they face when working in the Western Australian resources sector. In Work, employment and employment relations in an uneven patchwork world: Proceedings of the 27th AIRAANZ Conference (pp. 26-35). Fremantle, Australia: Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand. Original article available here

Abstract

As a response to the shortage of specialised workers in the Western Australian (WA) resources sector, business has resorted to employing workers on temporary 457 visas. This paper provides an insight into some of the challenges workers on 457 visas reported while working in Australia in a study that collected data in 2012. While the study focussed on costs and benefits of employing workers on 457 visas to business, the migrant worker and the larger Australian community, part of the data included the social and financial costs to these workers. It is this data that is reported in this paper. Workers on 457 visas stated that financial costs that directly affected them were the requirement to cover their medical and child care costs as well as some paid up to $3000 to overseas Migration Agents to arrange their visas. The social costs included extreme loneliness, acceptance by Australian workers and difficulties with spouse and family who may be large distances apart that is further exacerbated by fly-in/fly-out working arrangements. Relocation Agents appear to provide the very valuable connection to community for newly arrived migrants in that they facilitate introductions for people to establish new friendships. The emotional and social welfare of these workers emerged as key components of successful assimilation in Australia. Failure to acknowledge these problems resulted in threats to emotional well being of the workers and their families and in some cases led to workers returning home early

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