Turnbull Government to abolish 457 skilled migration visa, and says give jobs back to Aussies

April 17th, 2017 | | Accommodation

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will axe the 457 visa program for skilled migrants in order to put Australian jobs first. He made the announcement today as part of his plan to tackle unemployment. “We’re abolishing 457 visas, the visas which bring temporary foreign workers into our country,” he said during a press conference.

As at September 30, 2016 there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas. The highest proportion of foreign workers came from India (24.6%), the United Kingdom (19.5%) and China (5.8%).

Two new visas will be introduced to replaced the scrapped system. A two-year temporary visa will be introduced, along with a new four-year visa with a prerequisites for two years’ work experience, an English language proficiency and a background criminal check. The new four-year visa will cost $2400, more than the current $1810 application fee, while the two-year visa will cost $1150.

Under the new visas, the range of jobs foreign workers can apply for will be slashed by more than 200 occupations including firefighters, police officers, actors, dentists, shearers, zookeepers and pilots. A minimum market salary rate will also be set so overseas workers cannot be employed to undercut Australian workers (or be exploited).

“These new visas will ensure that Australian businesses have access to the workers from overseas they need to fill real skill gaps, but not otherwise,” Mr Turnbull said. “And that Australians, where vacancies are there, where opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them.”

Last year Mr Turnbull made changes to the 457 visa for skilled foreign workers including reducing the time they can remain in in Australia after their employment ceases from 90 to 60 days and banning some fast-food chains from sponsoring foreign workers.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten slammed the plan via Twitter. “Make no mistake, the only job Malcolm Turnbull cares about saving is his own,” he wrote.

“At the moment the existing 457 visa program is conducted for a period of four years, but essentially it is open-ended and it results, in many cases, in a migration outcome, somebody going into permanent residency and becoming a citizen,” Immigration Minister Mr Dutton said. (Edit. where is the problem in this? on the one hand this government declares Australia an ‘immigration country’ and on the other its own minister comes up with this comment. Does he know what he’s saying/doing?).

Dutton added “It is about making sure that where those jobs can’t be filled, particularly in regional areas, that there is the ability to bring in that overseas worker into that job that can’t be filled by an Australian worker.”

How is this move good news for the tourism economy, particularly in hospitality and tourism jobs which rely on overseas workers?

The Chief Executive Officer of TTF, Margy Osmond, said “a continuous pipeline of skilled labour from overseas was vital for sectors such as hospitality, which has ongoing shortages of key staff including chefs and hotel managers.
“The tourism industry directly employed 580,200 people in 2015-16, or 4.9 per cent of the national workforce, and continues to grow. By comparison, agriculture employed 321,600 people and mining provided 227,800 direct jobs.”

Is this less about keeping Aussie jobs and more about Mr Turnbull keeping his job? Have your say.

Sourced by Alex Harmon

Source: The Guardian and Yahoo News

PS While the New Zealand Government takes another route and introduces higher pay thresholds before a job is classed as ‘skilled’ (up from 100% of the NZ median income ($49,000) to 150% ($73,000). Better idea?