Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Australia scraps visa for skilled foreign workers

Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 06:06

The federal government will abolish the 457 visa program that allows skilled foreigners to work in Australia.

The Australian government has announced changes to its current visa programs, with plans to axe the four-year 457 visa for highly skilled workers and replace it with two temporary skills visas.

"We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first...we are an immigration nation, but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs", the PM announced this week via social network Facebook.

According to the Australian government, for example, most of the Indians who migrated in 2014-15 did so under the 457 program. People now holding a 457 visa will not be affected.

Turnbull's statement resonated the stance taken by the Trump administration in the USA to restict use of the H1-B visa programme, which allows firms to hire foreign workers in specialised occupations.

Turnbull said that those now in Australia on the 457-visa programme will not be affected. "Govt is in touch with US & Australia & making full assessment of impact of these recent changes, in consultation with all stake holders", said MEA.

"It will include new requirements, including previous work experience, better English language proficiency and labour testing".

"We are bringing the 457 visa class to an end".

The new two-year visa won't be a pathway to permanent residency, but anyone now in Australia on a 457 visa won't be affected by the new arrangements.

More than 200 jobs will be removed from an existing list of about 650 eligible professions.

As at September 30 past year there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas and 76,430 secondary visa holders (members of their family).

"Where employers breach their obligations then they won't be able to get further people in under visas", Mr Turnbull told ABC radio on Wednesday.

The 457 visa is a temporary work visa which allows skilled workers from outside the country to work in Australia for up to four years with sponsorship from an approved company.

The list for the longer visa will be even more strict, said Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.