457 visa

Visa numbers fall in Australia since skilled stream changes were introduced

by Ray Clancy on June 18, 2018

in Australia Immigration

The number of visas issued in Australia for foreign workers has fallen by tens of thousands and are expected to continue doing so since the 457 visa was replaced earlier this year.

Official figures show that in the 2017/2018 financial year some 165,000 visas were issued, 25,000 fewer than the 190,000 expected to be granted since 2012/2013.

(TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock.com)

Migration experts have pointed out that the abolition of the 457 visa scheme has made Australia a less attractive place. Under the new Temporary Skill Shortage visas there is no longer an automatic route becoming a permanent residence.

Changes to the regional sponsored migration scheme visa have also affected numbers. Now applicants must have worked in their field for at least three years before they can submit an application for residency.

Since March 2018 the number of occupations available for temporary visas has been reduced from 651 to 461, labour market testing now applies and the chances of getting permanent residency are much reduced along with tougher English language criteria.

There is now a maximum visa terms of two years for the short term stream, with capacity for one renewal, and four years for medium term stream while eligibility for permanent residence arises only after three years, compared with two years under the 457 visa.

Under the changes the two streams, short term and medium to long term visas, cater for different skills shortages. The new system will also see visa processing streamlined, particularly for lower risk applicants.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the changes were designed to strengthen visa arrangements to ensure that Australian workers were given priority for Australian jobs.

‘The Government is delivering on its promise to ensure we get the right balance between protecting local jobs and supporting Australian employers to fill critical skills shortages,’ he pointed out.

‘In the last 12 months, there have been record jobs created, welfare queues shortened and a decline in 457s issued. That is a good trifecta for Australian workers,’ he added.

As part of the regular review of the occupation lists which underpin the new visa arrangements, the Department of Jobs and Small Business launched a consultation process which includes skills shortages in regional areas. The outcomes of this consultation will be factored into the July 2018 visa review.

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