Australian government axes 457 work visa and replaces it with another
The Turnbull government is axing the 457 visa program and replacing it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa.
This comes after a history of problems with the 457 program, including uncovered abuse of workers.
The new scheme will be made up of two streams, one short term (issued for two years) and one medium term (issued for up to four years for “more focused occupation lists”). Both of these will be subject to labour market testing including a requirement for two years of work experience, a market salary rate assessment and a new non-discriminatory workforce test.
As of June 30, 2016 there were 94,890 primary 457 visa holders in Australia.
This means the total number of primary 457 visa holders who are sponsored by an employer is equal to less than 1% of the Australian labour market. This proportion rises if international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants are included.
Nearly 75 percent of 457 visa holders are managers and professionals. The idea that scrapping this program will fix employment is bizarre.— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) April 18, 2017
The number of eligible occupations for the new types of visas will be shortened by 216, with 268 available for the two year visa and 167 for the longer four year visa. Applicants will also now have to meet English language requirements and undergo a criminal check.
The changes are in effect immediately and will be fully implemented by 2018.
Employer-conducted labour market testing has been discredited by the OECD and the government’s own independent inquiry into the 457 visa in 2014 which recommended its abolition. A far better approach is independent labour market testing which is used in the UK, Austria and other countries to ascertain which occupations should be eligible for temporary skilled migration.
Chris F. Wright, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney; Henry Sherrell, Research Officer, Labour Mobility and Migration, Development Policy Centre, Australian National University, and Joanna Howe, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Adelaide