An effective 457 temporary work (skilled) visa programme is critical to address skills shortages in Australia, it is claimed.

According to the Business Council of Australia, it is also important for the development of Australia's workforce and to increase employment opportunities.

The BCA recommends several changes in its submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) which has launched a review of the 457 visa scheme.

The 457 visa is one of the most popular for employers seeking workers from overseas​

The 457 visa is one of the most popular for employers seeking workers from overseas and allows an applicant entry to the country to work on a temporary basis for up to four years.

The Independent Review of Integrity in the Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa Programme was announced by the government due to controversy over whether it fits its purpose. It has been criticised for making it too easy for employers to bring in overseas workers at the expense of local workers and young people.

There is also the controversial issue of labour market testing, which was brought back by the previous government. The BCA recommends labour market testing should be reversed.

It also calls for the 457 visa approval processes to be streamlined to improve turnaround times, particularly for sponsors with a proven track record in training employees and hiring locally. It also wants a commitment to industry consultation and a Regulation Impact Statement if the government is considering any changes to the 457 visa scheme in the future.

'This review should reinforce the importance of the scheme to Australia's long term prosperity and remove unnecessary and costly regulatory barriers to the efficient operation of the scheme, while maintaining its aim of ensuring that suitably qualified and available local workers are employed before overseas workers.

'In particular, the review should lead to the removal of regulatory restrictions added in 2013 that were not evidence based and which have added unnecessary cost and complexity to a highly successful programme,' it adds.

The submission calls on ministers to consider opportunities for further improving the ability of the 457 programme to meet skills shortages unable to be filled by Australians, including reducing the minimum English language requirements for skilled occupations that do not need high levels of English proficiency.

It thinks there should be improved efficiency in terms of 457 skills assessment processes and a streamlining of 457 visa approvals for intra-company transfers and situations where a 457 visa has been active within 6 to 12 months.

Other recommendations include allowing more than 10 days for businesses to notify the department of certain changes to 457 work arrangements.