Australian 457 work visa cancellation aims at protecting Oz jobs

Published:  19 Apr at 6 PM
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Australia’s popular four-year work visa, known as the ‘457’, is to be replaced by a different system aimed at keeping Australian jobs for Australian nationals.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the nation the cancellation of the popular work visa which allowed highly skilled expat workers to claim permanent residence on its expiry was being stopped to protect jobs for Oz nationals. The visa was popular with skilled workers from overseas as it was seen as a passport to permanent residency.

According to Turnbull, the 95,000 skilled immigrants already holding the 457 visa will still be entitled to apply for residency after the four years have ended. The visa changes are aimed at all future would-be migrants, with the 457’s replacement only valid for two years and issued on a temporary basis without allowing permanent residency once it ends.
Turnbull’s statement to the media included his reason for the changes, in that expats would no longer be able to lay claim to vacancies aimed at Australian citizens, even although the replacement visa is supposedly designed to recruit ‘the brightest and the best’.

Unsurprisingly, the announcing of the cancellation of 457 and the restrictions of its replacement has spurred protests by the country’s trade unions, which regard it as messing around at the edges, adding they don’t expect many changes. Union bosses would prefer a serious top to bottom review focusing on the exploitation of immigrants and wage theft. Employers, however, are welcoming the new rules, with a number pointing out that a very small percentage of Australia’s total expat workforce are making use of the existing 457 visa.

In addition to the actual visa change, the government’s list of occupations qualifying for its use is to be slashed from its present number of 200, and the new visa will require previous work experience. A follow-on four year visa will require an official police criminal record check as well as greater fluency in the English language for applicants from non-English speaking countries.

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