The Australian government has announced that it will abolish the 457 Visa stream for foreign workers and introduce the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa in its place. This visa will be restricted to critical skills shortages.
The move has been taken in a bid to ensure Australian workers are given first priority for jobs, while businesses will still be able to temporarily access the critical skills they need to grow if skilled Australians workers are not available.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage 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.
Implementation of the new visa will begin immediately, with full implementation to be completed by March 2018.
The Government has also revealed that it will announce further measures to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s migration programme and visa systems in the near future.
Article published 18th April 2017