More details of the replacement for Australia’s 457 visa are emerging with companies who apply for temporary skilled workers set to pay more.
The Government will also reduce the age limit for temporary work visas from 50 to 45 and fees for the new visa stream are also likely to go up.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton also indicated that a new provisional visa for foreign workers who aspire to become permanent residents in Australia is being considered. The provisional visa would be mandatory and provide people with restricted access to social security before eventually becoming full Australian citizens.
The abolition of the 457 visa programme is one of the biggest shake ups in Australia for immigration for some time. It has been heavily criticised in recent years for making it too easy for employers to employ workers from overseas.
Now it is being replaced in 2018 with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa programme with a short term and medium term stream. Short term visas will be issued for two years, while medium term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years.
Both streams will include mandatory labour market testing, a new non-discriminatory workforce test, mandatory criminal history checks, a market salary rate assessment, two year work experience requirement and tighter English language requirements.
The aim of the change is to make more use of skills in Australia and Dutton explained that the Government wants employers to invest in more training and this could be funded from an increased fee charged when employers do bring in temporary skilled foreign workers.
The application fee for the short term two-year visa would be $1,150 and $2,400 for the four year medium term visa, although details of extra payments by businesses have still to be made clear.
More details are expected in the coming months but according to Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, who also chairs the ministerial advisory committee on skilled migration, said it is highly likely that employers will be charged more.
‘What we believe will occur is that there’ll be an increased fee and a more streamlined fee for skilled migrants that will be paid for by their employers when they come into Australia,’ he said.
‘That money needs to be used wisely to train Australians, particularly young Australians in jobs that are in need and the jobs of the future,’ he added.
The changes comes at a time when more than 200 jobs have been cut from the list of occupations that foreign workers can apply for under the temporary migration visa scheme.