The Australian Federal Government has announced plans to abolish the popular 457 visa, replacing it with two new visas, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. However, current 457 Visa holders will not be affected. It’s expected the new two-year replacement will not allow permanent residency and will have stricter requirements around work experience, English language proficiency, and labour market testing. More details are available at TheAustralian.com. Malcolm Turnbull took to Facebook to make the announcement on Monday, saying « The migration program should only operate in our national interest. This is all about Australia’s interest. »
The 457 visa program allows business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
The numbers are uncapped – no limit on the number of times they can travel in and out of Australia.
Foreign workers can bring family to work or study.
Employers must apply to sponsor a 457 worker or enter into a formal labour agreement with the government.
They must show they are training locals.
As at September 30, 2016 there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas and 76,430 secondary visa holders.
Numbers are in decline — in March there was a 9.2% drop in primary visa holders compared to 2015.