The cost of obtaining work visas for skilled migrants is set to rise – Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced a raft of visa fee increases will be introduced by the federal government.
The skilled migrant visa (457 visa) is expected to rise from $350 per employee to about $450. According to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, it is not unreasonable to ask some of Australia's new migrants or visiting workers to pay more. "The fact is that there are plenty of people from around the world who want to work in Australia because of our substantial economic strengths," Bowen told News Limited. Yet the cost of work visas are regularly shouldered by employers, not individuals.
Reflecting the relatively high rate of graduate unemployment, the most significant increase is set to be in the allocation of skilled graduate visas, which will increase from $315 to $1,260.
Partner visas are expected to rise from $3,060 to about $4,000 for people already in Australia and offshore partner visas from $2,060 to about $2,700 for people overseas who want to migrate to join a spouse.
It was reported that the visa rises could net Treasury $500m as Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong attempt to deliver on the election promise to keep the budget on track for a return to surplus.
The working holiday visa is also projected to rise from $280 to about $350.