The Australian government, led by Malcolm Turnball, has announced that the skilled 457 visa is to be scrapped, and replaced with a new temporary work visa.
The 457 visa has been a popular visa amongst South Africans emigrating to Australia.
Today’s announcement is part of the Australian government’s efforts to prioritise Australian workers for local jobs which are currently open to foreign workers.
Sounding a lot like his nemesis, American President Donald Trump, Turnball said in a pre-announcement video: “We’re putting jobs first. We’re putting Australians first.” (Watch below.)
According to Turnball, Australia is the most successful multi-cultural nation in the world, and he acknowledged it is an “immigration nation”… but that Australian workers should have priority over Australian jobs.He said the 457 visas will be abolished so that they can no longer be the passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.
But South Africans wanting to work in Australia will still have the possibility, through a new temporary visa that will better target genuine skills shortages and attract the world’s “best and brightest”.
Turnball said “it is still important that businesses get access to the skills that they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa…”
Requirements for the new visa will include previous work experience, better (and competent) English language proficiency and labour market testing.
A new training fund is also going to be established in Australia to help locals get the right skills.
The 457 visa was very popular in Western Australia during the mining boom although it has been dwindling in recent times. Those on a 457 were allowed to enter and leave the country as much as they wanted, and could bring their family over. In September 2016, there were over 95,000 foreign workers in Australia on a primary 457 visa, and over 76,000 of their family members on a secondary visa.
The new temporary visa will apparently be reduced from the 457’s four-year period to just two years.
It will reportedly be made available to 200 less occupations.
It will require applicants to undergo a criminal check.
The new two-year visa will not allow permanent residency.
Anyone who is already living in Australia on a 457 visa will NOT be affected.