457 visa program axed by Malcolm Turnbull
The Turnbull government is abolishing(समाप्त करना) 457 visas for skilled migrants and replacing it with a tighter program. In a Facebook-first announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the temporary visas for foreign workers would be replaced by a new class of visa, better targeted to ensure that foreign workers were only brought in to fill genuine skills shortages. Announcing the changes at a press conference in Canberra a short time after the Facebook announcement, Mr Turnbull said the new visa would ensure that foreign workers were brought into Australia to fill critical skill gaps and not simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian. Immigration(आप्रवासन) Minister Peter Dutton said anyone now in Australia on a 457 visa will not be affected by the new arrangements. “They will continue under the conditions of that visa,” Mr Dutton said. As at September 30 last year there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas and 76,430 secondary visa holders (members of their family).
Mr Turnbull said the Labor Party had been “Olympic champions” in the issuance of 457 visas. “Bill Shorten, the gold medal winner among them all,” Mr Turnbull said. “During his time the number of 457s increased by two-thirds during the last term of the Labor government, and less than 10 per cent of that increase went to the mining sector. So, this wasn’t about the mining boom and the need to bring in new skilled workers. These were people, working as labourers, working flipping burgers.’’
The new visa will include a short term two-year stream with a broad list of occupations reduced from the current list of more than 200. “This is a very substantial reduction in the list of skills that qualify for these visas,” Mr Turnbull said.
A second visa class, focused on strategic, long-term skills gaps will have a four-year limit and require a higher standard of English than the two-year visa. Both will require prior work experience.
“That is not the case at the moment,” Mr Turnbull said.
Both visas will require a criminal record check, which is not currently required. Mr Turnbull said the four-year visa would also require mandatory labour market testing in the majority of cases.
Mr Dutton said the abolition of the 457 program was an attempt to clean up Labor’s mess.
“Labor presided over a policy which got out-of-control by their own admission,” he said.
“What we are doing is making some significant changes in abolishing the program, but introducing a temporary skills shortage visa through two streams.
“At the moment the existing 457 visa program is conducted for a period of four years, but essentially it is open-ended, and it results, in many cases, in a migration outcome, somebody going into permanent residency and becoming a citizen, which is a significant part of the attraction to using the 457 visa.”
Mr Dutton said there would be no permanent residency (निवास) outcomes at the end of the new short-term two-year visa. “In relation to the medium-term stream, which as the Prime Minister pointed out, is targeted at higher skills, a much shorter skills list,that will be for a period of four years, can be applied for onshore or offshore, and it’s a significant tightening of the way in which that program operates,” he said.
The new scheme will require employers to advertise jobs before filling them with foreign workers. A fee of $1150 will apply for the short term visa, while medium-term applicants will pay $2400.
Asked whether the announcement was a response to Pauline Hanson’s rhetoric on foreign workers, Mr Turnbull said it was a decision of his government as a result of a review of the system. “This has been a careful exercise in policy development, and we’re announcing the conclusions today,” he said.
Under the changes, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records for holders of the new visas. Visa applicants will need to have at least three years’ work experience and applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application.
In his video posted to Facebook, Mr Turnbull said: “Australia is the most successful multicultural nation in the world. We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains: Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs. So we’re abolishing 457 visas, the visas that bring temporary foreign workers to our country.”
Mr Turnbull said the government would no longer allow 457 visas “to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians’’.
He said it was, however, important that businesses still get access to the skills they need to grow and invest.
“So the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa specifically designed to recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The new visa will better target genuine skills shortages including in regional Australia.
“It will include new requirements including previous work experience, better English language proficiency and labour market testing.”
The government will also establish a new training fund to help train Australians to fill skills gaps.
“I’ll have more to say about all this in the coming days and weeks, but our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values,” Mr Turnbull said.