The 457 visa in Australia for temporary skilled workers is being abolished and will be replaced by a new temporary skill shortage visa in March 2018, it has been announced.
It is part of a drive to make sure employers try to fill positions with people already in Australia before looking for workers from abroad and the new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa programme will comprise two streams, short term and medium term and officials said that it will be underpinned by more focused occupation lists that are responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variations across Australia.
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 with limited exemptions, a new non-discriminatory workforce test, mandatory criminal history checks, a market salary rate assessment and a new two year work experience requirement.
Additionally there will be tightened English language requirements for the medium term stream and the new visa will also include a strengthened training obligation for employers sponsoring foreign skilled workers to provide enhanced training outcomes for Australians in high need industries and occupations.
‘These changes will give Australian job seekers more opportunity to find work while finding the right balance so businesses can prosper by acquiring the expertise they need. Migration is an integral part of the Australian story and its success has helped us become the world’s most successful multicultural nation,’ said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in a joint statement.
‘There is no doubt foreign workers have played a significant role in the remarkable economic growth of the nation. We are making it easier for Australians to find work and we have restored order to our borders so we can ensure foreign workers have an opportunity to arrive through the appropriate channels,’ the statement added.
The implementation of the new visa will begin immediately, with full implementation to be completed by March 2018 and further measures to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s migration programme and visa systems are due to be announced in the near future.