Changes to the 457 temporary visa program are coming, says Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull. What does this mean for international students and graduates? Mihika Hegde has more.
The Turnbull Government has announced a restructured migration policy that scraps the 457 temporary visa program for skilled migrants.
The axing of the controversial program allowing skilled migrants with a pathway to work in Australia does not impact the more than 95,000 current visa holders in the country.
Instead, the changes coincide with the introduction of two new temporary skills visas – a two year visa (with no path to permanent residency) and a specialised four year visa to target, specialised skills with a narrow occupation list.
So how will this affect international students and fresh graduates looking for a job in Australia?
For migrants applying for a skills visa, the criteria will now include:
- Tighter restrictions around previous work experience
- New standards for English language proficiency
- Criminal background checks
- Mandatory labour market testing for those applying for a four-year visa
The two-year visa will cost $1,150 while the four-year visa will cost $2,400, and can be applied in or outside of Australia.
Additionally, more than 200 occupations will be slashed as part of the incoming changes, limiting the number of jobs foreign workers can apply for.
Speaking on Facebook, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the move was part of a push to put Australians first.
“Now, these new visas will ensure that Australian businesses have access to the workers from overseas they need to fill real skill gaps, but not otherwise, and that Australians, wherever possible, where jobs are – vacancies are there, where opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them”, he said.
The move to reject more temporary visa applicants will decrease the number of skilled migrants in Australia over time.
“Because we are narrowing significantly the number of occupations and we are increasing the qualifications that visa applicants need to have, it is our expectation that all other things being equal you will see a material reduction over time of people working on these temporary visas,” he said, speaking to the Australian Financial Review.