Australia scraps 457 visa to 'put Australians first'

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the scrap of 457 visa program. Source: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The Prime Minister says a new visa will replace 457 visa, that will help recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he is scrapping the controversial 457 visa that allows Australian businesses to sponsor foreign workers to temporarily stay and work in Australia. 

Prime Minister made the announcement on Tuesday via a video message posted on his Facebook page.

"Australia is the most successful multicultural nation in the world. We are an immigration nation.

But the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority," said the PM in the video. 

"We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians."

The prime minister said a new temporary visa will soon be put in place to let the businesses fill the skill gap, which need to hire foreign workers. 

Australian 457 visa program

Sooraj Handa, a Melbourne-based immigration consultant says the move will cause thousands of international students and temporary migrants a significant disadvantage.  

"Many of the students studying in the vocational sector were largely dependent on employer sponsors for their 457 visas will now have their pathways to a permanent residency in Australia drastically narrowed," he told SBS Punjabi. 

"Many temporary residents and students in the higher education sector will also be affected who were earlier able to find employers willing to sponsor them," he said.

AAP reports that the government plans to reduce the list of occupations that qualify for a temporary visa from its current number of 200.

The new temporary visas will be limited to a two-year period that requires previous work experience.

A second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language skills as well as a proper criminal check.

While the opposition leader Bill Shorten blasted the move by the PM in his tweet, One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson claimed credit for the government's latest decision on immigration policy.  

There are over 95,000 people in Australia on 457 visas. Last year, the government granted more than 45,000 visas before beginning a crackdown on the controversial visa subclass when it reduced the period of stay for foreign workers on 457 visas to 60 days after their employment ended instead of 90. 

In a precursor to scrapping the visa, the government earlier this year, barred fast food chains from sponsoring foreign workers on 467 visas. 

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