by Warren Heggarty
457 visas have been controversial because they enabled employers to hire qualified workers directly from overseas when there are obviously plenty of unemployed or underemployed people in Australia.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on 20th April 2017 that 457s will be replaced by Temporary Skilled Shortage Visas. He said that the visa changes “will ensure Australian workers are given the absolute 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. At present, there are 95,000 workers on 457 visas in Australia whose positions will not be affected.
216 jobs have been removed from the list of those previously eligible to bring in foreign works, including zookeepers, goat farmers, turf growers, flight attendants and actors. The opposition pointed out that only 8.6 per cent of current 457 visa workers would be excluded under the new system. They also pointed out that 18 of the jobs being cut from the list have not been used in the past decade, ‘deer farmer’ for example. The Prime Minister said employers would be required to contribute to a fund to “support skills development and take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships.”
Under the new scheme there will be short term visas (up to two years) and medium term visas (up to four years) for more specialised occupations. Issuing the visas will be subject to labour market testing.
The long term solution to the problem of there being a shortage of skilled local workers is to train local workers. To this end, employers using the new visas will be required to contribute to a training fund which will cover the cost of this.
The types of employee shortages differ between city and country. The new visa rules will reflect this.
David Swan and Supratim Adhikari, “457 axing will leave talent gap: start-ups”, The Australian, 19 April 2017
James Massola, “Malcolm Turnbull’s new visa jobs list would affect just 9 per cent of current 457 holders: Shorten'”, in the Sydney Morning Herald 19 April 2017
Simon Henson and Sarah Martin, “Business to pay as 457 visas axed”, The Australian, 19 April 2017
Business Chamber of NSW
Flourish Australia Employment Services Senior Manager: James Herbertson, Program Manager, Disability Employment Services: Julie Duong.
Panorama Employment is a regular supplement of Panorama magazine, Contact Warren.Heggarty@richmondpra.org.au, Grant.Everett@richmondpra.org.au. (02) 9393 9021, 5 Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park 2127. © 2017 Flourish Australia