Reforming Australia’s 457 Visa with Dr Joanna Howe

This week the Federal Government released its report ‘Robust New Foundations’, which provides a reform agenda for Australia’s 457 visa program. University of Adelaide Law School academic, Dr Joanna Howe, was quoted extensively by the report’s authors. In particular, her proposal that Australia move to an independent labour market testing model for the 457 visa was adopted in the report as part of its recommendations to the Government. Currently, the 457 visa relies upon employers providing evidence of their difficulties in recruiting Australian workers to fulfill job vacancies. However, Dr Howe’s research has shown how a more effective and efficient method is to rely on an independent panel to conduct labour market research and to receive submissions in compiling an occupational shortage list.

In the past two years, Dr Howe’s research has led her to be invited to present evidence before the Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the 457 Visa Independent Review and to write articles for the mainstream press, including The Age, The Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation.

In 2013 she published a seminal article in top ranking Law journal, the Federal Law Review, outlining her proposal for an independent labour market testing model, and it is gratifying to see that this new report has taken up her proposal and relies upon it as a way forward for the 457 visa scheme.

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