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Australia Scraps 457 Visa Program, Gives Priority to its Countrymen

April 19, 2017

Australia plans to abolish the temporary work visa which is popular with foreigners and replace it with a visa requiring better English language knowledge and work skills, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference in Canberra.

The visa policy changes were made in response to the far-right wing political parties such as the One Nation demanding more nationalistic policies, Hindustan Times reported.

In a Facebook announcement, Turnbull clearly stated, “Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values.” These changes to visa rules once made, would mean the country would attract better skilled workers over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa programme.

As Australia continues to attract immigrants, Turnbull added on a note of clarity, “We’ll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.” The 457 visa was primarily added to the types of visa category, to address the Australia’s skill shortage, which would allow workers to bring in members of their family to Australia on a 457 secondary visa.

But the programme has been mired in controversy, with allegations stating its misuse by employers to import workers on the cheap, but not to fill in genuine skill shortage. Based on these findings, the Australian government is now taking stern steps to bring the 457 visa class to an end, which has lost its credibility over a period of time.

See: Australian Employers Make Active Efforts to Close the Gender Pay Gap

However, workers now working in Australia on a 457 visa will not be affected by the new arrangements. The 457 visa now availed by 95,000 foreign workers will now be replaced by a new temporary visa, and the list of occupations that qualify for a visa will be reduced from the current tally of more than 650.

This new temporary visa issued will be limited for a two-year period, and to qualify for a second four-year visa, the skilled workers would need higher standards of English language proficiency. Turnbull added the new system would be “manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest.”

No permanent residency will be provided to those skilled workers, who migrate under the temporary skills shortage visa short-term stream. Stipulating the process of stopping foreign workers to now apply and migrate under the 457 scheme, the Government orders fast-food chains in Australia to scrap off the fast-track arrangements for 457 skilled worker visas.

Last year, the Government also indicated it would review the visa category and the list of skilled jobs migrants could apply to qualify for a visa.

Also read: Skills in Demand in Australia for 2017

Image credit: visareporter.com

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