Perth – January 2015 – With the school year coming, 457 families with school aged children are starting to come to grips with the fact that they are going to have to find an extra $4000 to fund their children’s school fees for the 2015 school year.
To date, the Western Australian Government has foot the bill for the dependents of 457 Visa holders, however under legislation announced in May, a yearly tuition fee of $4000 will apply for the first child in the 2015 school year, with no fee payable for subsequent children. Visa holders who earn less than $75,000 have been granted an exclusion.
According to visa and migration specialist Noelene Merrey, although the fee will provide funding for support services in schools such as ESL staff, there appears to be a disparity between the treatment of permanent residents and 457 Visa holders. Noelene Merrey is the Chief Executive Officer of ISA Group, a migration, recruitment, HR and visa specialist, with offices in Australia, UK, Philippines and China.
“Permanent residents who don’t have English as a first language require the same amount of additional support as 457 Visa holders who don’t speak English. Furthermore, those 457’s who have already been granted temporary resident status prior to the announcement of the fee most likely would not have taken into consideration this extra cost. Taking into account that many 457 Visa holders are on the lower end of the salary scale as it is, it’s a big additional expense, given the fact that they pay income tax just like every other employee in Australia,” added Ms Merrey.
“The United Nations Convention, to which Australia is a signatory, states that all children have the right to an education. It also states that primary education should be free and wealthier countries should help poorer countries achieve this.”
It costs approximately, on average, $14,833 to educate a student in a public primary school in 2014-15, and $19,363 in a public secondary school. Public schools in Western Australia do not charge a tuition fee however a voluntary contribution fee charged by most schools. . It is estimated that these new fees for 457’s will raise approximately $120 million over four years. Western Australia, ACT and NSW are currently the only states who charge the fees, which will be collected by the State Government. Once 457 Visa holders become permanent residents, they qualify for free education.
For more information, please contact Nicki Williams, SPYN on 0408 688 410