TELL US: What do you think about tightening 457 visa rules? Do we we have enough skilled workers in Tasmania?
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TASMANIA is leading the nation in the rate of growth in "457 visa" workers, with 240 people successfully applying for the visa so far this financial year - up from 180 this time last year.
The visas allow employers to temporarily sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has put the issue to the national agenda, saying she will tighten access to the visas.
Tasmania's peak business lobby says any move to restrict visas could slow the state's economic growth.
TCCI chief executive Michael Bailey said skilled migration was vital to the state.
"Skilled migrants are so important because they grow the economy, which is something that Tasmania desperately needs," Mr Bailey said.
"We need to make sure there are jobs for Australians - there's no doubt about that.
"But clearly in a state like Tasmania, where we have a flatlining population, there is a need to grow."
Mr Bailey said a focus on skilled migration was a key part of the TCCI's Tasmanian budget submission.
The strongest area of growth for the visas in Tasmania was in agriculture, forestry and fishing, where 50 workers have been granted visas this year, up from 10 last financial year.
Sixty workers have been granted visas in the health-care sector.
The UK and India are Tasmania's two biggest citizenship countries.
With 460 of the visa holders in the state, Tasmania represents only a fraction of the national figures.
Immigration Department statistics show that of the 105,330 workers on 457 visas in Australia, less than one in every 200 lived in Tasmania.
The 457 visa was introduced in 1996 as a way for businesses to employ skilled immigrants in roles where there are local skills shortages.
Applicants must be sponsored by an employer, demonstrate relevant qualifications and English language skills.
Successful applicants can live and work in Australia, with their family, for up to four years.