Print View

Your printed page will look something like this.

457 Visas for IT Support Roles Increase by Nearly 500% in Ten Years

March 2017, SYDNEY – Temporary Work visa data extracted from The Commonwealth’s website shows that while the overall number of 457 visas issued over the last decade (excluding IT) has risen by just 2%, over the same period there has been a 136% rise in 457 visas issued for IT workers.

Breaking down the numbers further to specific entry level occupations such as Systems Administration and IT Support reveals that the growth rate for 457 visas granted blows out by over 480% over the decade of 2005/06 - 2015/16.

“The ITPA has no issue with local IT organisations using 457 visas if they are genuinely unable to find suitable local candidates”, said Martin Hale, Director at IT Professionals Association (ITPA), an independent industry body representing over 7000 members who work in Systems Administration and IT Support.

“What we are concerned about, however, is that many local IT organisations appear to be using 457 visas to hire international staff to work in entry level IT Support positions rather than hiring and developing local graduates.”

“Traditionally, IT support roles have been one of the main entry points for IT graduates to get a career started in the industry”, Hale said. “With the growing number of people now being brought in on 457 visas to undertake these roles it is no surprise local IT graduates cannot find work, and that the number of students studying IT degrees at Australian tertiary institutions has dropped in the last decade.”

“What is happening in IT is the equivalent to Australian government deciding to scrap all medical internships at Australian hospitals and bring in surgeons from overseas some of whom may be willing to work for lower wages”, Hale continued. “If that were the case, the result would be that universities stop offering medical degrees and we would become totally reliant on importing OS medical staff in our hospitals.”

“We are also very concerned about the growing number of IT organisations that appear to be exploiting the 457 visa system to displace local workers with internationally-recruited IT staff on much lower wages than would be otherwise applicable”, added Hale.

“The ITPA understands that IT is a growth industry and that therefore there is some need to supplement local candidates with suitably qualified internationals for some specialist roles. However, the health services sector is also growing and the number of 457 visas granted to health professionals (doctors, nurses etc.) has decreased by over 20% in the same ten year period.”

“To stop abuse of organisations using the 457 visas system to fill Systems Administration and IT Support positions, the ITPA calls on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to make details of all future 457 visa applications for Systems Administration and IT support positions available publicly, so that we can promote them to our members and other IT graduates.”

“In the interim, the ITPA has asked our membership to advise us of examples of alleged abuses they encounter and if any claims are substantiated, we intend to alert the Immigration Department. If the identified 457 abuses are not rectified we will ‘name and shame’ the IT organisations involved to our 7000 members and the media.”

For more information or comment, contact: Martin Hale, Director, ITPA – 0419 322 844


The Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) was formed in 2016 as an evolution of the System Administrators Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU), which was founded in 1993. Since launching ITPA has grown to now include over 7000 members. Led and populated by IT professionals who are currently working in the industry, ITPA aims to be a trusted source of advice, knowledge and information about the IT industry for enterprise, government, media and society. It is in tune with the latest industry developments, focused on growing career opportunities for Australian IT professionals and willing to challenge government policy that inhibits the growth of the Australian IT Industry.

Notes for editors:
To verify 457 visa numbers claim above:
• Open link to information on 457 visas
• Click on the blue “Go to Resource” button which will proceed to download a “Subclass 457 visas granted pivot table” spreadsheet
• Open this spreadsheet
• Select the “Nominated Occupation (ANZSCO Unit Group - Multiple items)” option which will open an options box
• Tick the “select multiple items” box and then uncheck “All”
• This then allows you to select “nominated occupations” to extract 457 visas granted over the last ten years for the selected group of occupations
• For this exercise, we selected all the IT options available (this included categories 1351, 1492, 2232, 2252, 2254, 2611, 2612, 2613, 2621, 2631, 2632, 2633, 3131 and 3132).
Combination of above went from 4,777 457 visas granted in 2005-06 to 11,283 in 2015-16. This is over 236% of the same number 10 years ago and represents a rise of 136%.
• And then four categories to get more specific about entry-level IT support roles, they are:
- 2621 - Database and Systems Administrators
- 2631 - Computer Network Professionals
- 2632 - ICT Support and Test Engineers
- 3131 – ICT Support Technicians
Combination of above went from 306 in 2005-06 to 1790 in 2015-16. This is over 580% of the same number ten years ago and represents a rise of nearly 500%.
Drop in the Number of Students Studying IT

Meanwhile, for coal-face chatter you can also check out the whirlpool discussion thread that has been taking place on the subject.