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Irish workers in Australia will suffer from 457 Visa

15 August, 2013 - by Caitríona Ruane, Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane has today expressed concern about the impact of the proposed new $4000 school fee on Irish 457 visa-holders in Western Australia. The 457 visas are a temporary skilled work visa which grants skilled workers (and their dependents) who are sponsored by an employer residency rights in Australia for four years.

 Ms Ruane said:

 "A Sinn Féin delegation visited Perth last year as part of an Australian speaking tour aimed at engaging with the wave of new Irish immigrants who have arrived in the country as a result of Ireland's economic crisis. The delegation met with many families who are in Australia on temporary work visas including the 457 visa.

 "There are now more than 4,000 Irish 457 visa-holders in Western Australia, and many of these have children of school age who will be affected by the state government's plan to introduce a fee of $4000 per child each year to attend a public school.

 "I am concerned about the potential economic impact this new fee will have on Irish families in Western Australia, particularly those with a large number of children of school age. Most have moved to Australia for economic reasons and are not in a position to be able to afford this.

 "It is viewed as especially unfair that the fee will apply to existing 457 visa-holders as well as those who arrive in the future on this visa. 

 "The Irish community in Western Australia has expressed their deep concern to me about this move and they are urging the state government to re-think this decision."

 The Irish community in Western Australia has set up an online petition against the fee, which has attracted almost 1000 signatures in under a week, and is planning a protest next week. The petition can be viewed here:

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