REUTERS, 18th APRIL, 2017- Australia will abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a visa requiring better English-language and work skills, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.
Turnbull rejected suggestions the visa policy change was in response to far-right wing political parties, such as One Nation, demanding more nationalistic policies.
But in a Facebook announcement Turnbull said: “Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values.”
Turnbull said the visa change would attract better skilled workers and see Australians employed over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa programme. “We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains- Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,” he said. “We’ll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.” The 457 visa was designed to fill Australia’s skills shortage and allow holders to bring members of their family to Australia on 457 secondary visa.
But the 457 visa has been mired in controversy with allegations the programme was being misused by employers to import workers on the cheap, not to fill genuine skill shortage.
“We are bringing the 457 visa class to an end. It’s lost its credibility,” Turnbull said at a press conference in Canberra.
Anyone now in Australia on a 457 visa will not be affected by the new arrangements.