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Type: Journal article
Title: Australian immigration policy in practice: a case study of skill recognition and qualification transferability amongst Irish 457 visa holders
Author: Breen, F.
Citation: Australian Geographer, 2016; 47(4):491-509
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 0004-9182
Statement of
Fidelma Breen
Abstract: Immigration quotas in Australia are guided primarily by economic policy—the needs of the nation are quite rightly the principal concern of policymakers. Using data from a mixed-methods study, this article engages in a dialogue between labour geography and population and migration studies through an examination of the lived experiences of migrating workers and their families. The paper examines a number of cases where policy and practice have detrimentally affected the migration experience of Irish migrants who came to Australia under the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa. The case study focuses on interviews with secondary 457 visa applicants, namely the wives of former 457 workers. These interviews highlight the problems faced by newcomers to Australia who arrive under this visa. The experiences relayed by these women demonstrate how ill-considered policy relating to qualification transferability makes entering the workplace and, therefore, transition to life in Australia more difficult than it needs to be. While the cases that underpin this paper ended in migration failure (the families involved returned to Ireland), the core issues of qualification transferability and skill comparison were replicated in the wider study dataset (of 1022 survey responses and 80 qualitative interviews). While acknowledging that citizens generally have more freedom and more civil rights than non-citizens, the findings of this study indicate that further review of Australia’s 457 visa is needed, particularly with respect to the limitations placed on the agency of migrant workers. Greater awareness amongst prospective migrants as to the purpose and limits of the 457 visa is also necessary, in order to avoid misinterpretation and the extreme personal repercussions outlined in this paper.
Keywords: Immigration; visa; Australia; Ireland; temporary; permanent; policy
Rights: © 2016 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.
DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2016.1220895
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Geography, Environment and Population publications

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