The Turnbull Government will safeguard Australian jobs by abolishing the Subclass 457 Visa for foreign workers and creating a new temporary visa restricted to critical skills shortages.
This will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute first priority for jobs, while businesses will be able to temporarily access the critical skills they need to grow if skilled Australians workers are not available.
The Subclass 457 Visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa. The new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa programme will comprise two streams – Short Term and Medium Term – and will be underpinned by more focused occupation lists that are responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variations across Australia.
Short term visas will be issued for two years, while medium term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years.
Both streams will include mandatory labour market testing with limited exemptions; a new non-discriminatory workforce test; mandatory criminal history checks; a market salary rate assessment and a new two-year work experience requirement.
Additionally there will be tightened English language requirements for the Medium Term Stream.
The new visa will also include a strengthened training obligation for employers sponsoring foreign skilled workers to provide enhanced training outcomes for Australians in high-need industries and occupations.
These changes will give Australian job seekers more opportunity to find work while finding the right balance so businesses can prosper by acquiring the expertise they need.
Migration is an integral part of the Australian story and its success has helped us become the world’s most successful multicultural nation.
There is no doubt foreign workers have played a significant role in the remarkable economic growth of the nation.
More than 100,000 workers from 30 countries helped build the Snowy Hydro Scheme while John Howard’s decision to focus our permanent migration programme on bringing in skills has helped the nation enjoy more than two decades of continued economic growth.
This will continue but not at the expense of Australians finding work. Unlike Labor, the Turnbull government will always put Australian workers first.
Bill Shorten sold out Australian workers by allowing a record number of foreign workers into the country, many not filling critical skill shortages.
More than 110,000 foreign workers entered the country in 2013 under the then Labor government. Some were allowed to work in the fast food sector at the expense of young Australians who were looking for work.
That will not happen under this government. We are making it easier for Australians to find work and we have restored order to our borders so we can ensure foreign workers have an opportunity to arrive through the appropriate channels.
Implementation of the new visa will begin immediately, with full implementation to be completed by March 2018.
Full details on the new visa and an explanation of transitionary arrangements for current 457 visa holders and applicants is available on the Department’s website at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/457-abolition-replacement
The Government will announce further measures to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s migration programme and visa systems in the near future.