Precarious yet optimistic : the lived experiences of Filipina 457 visa holders in the Australian labour market : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in International Development at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This study looks into the experiences of Filipina migrants on 457 visas in the Australian labour
market, and how these women interpret and make sense of their experiences. In particular it
addresses the invisibility of migrant women, in the context of the current rise in temporary
skilled migration and the feminisation of migration. Whereas most prior research on this topic
focused on measurable working conditions, this study focuses on the lived experiences.
This study adopts a qualitative approach, and draws mainly upon interviews and a small
qualitative web survey involving Filipina migrants. The results reveal the convergence of various
factors within the subclass 457 visa programme which shaped the labour experiences of women.
The Filipinas who migrated as primary 457 visa holders have better labour market outcomes in
comparison to Filipinas who migrated as dependent partners of primary 457 visa holders, whose
skills and potential were largely underutilised. Yet in spite of this labour market outcome
disparity, the lived experiences of both primary holders and dependents were the same – that of
varying degrees and forms of precariousness and optimism.