Australia to introduce stricter rules on working visas

April 18, 2017
Source: BBC
Australia to introduce stricter rules on working visas

Australia will introduce stricter visa requirements for skilled workers from overseas, the government said.

The 457 visa programme is used mainly to hire foreign workers in the restaurant, IT and medical industries - the majority came from India, the UK and China.

But PM Malcolm Turnbull said it will be abolished to prioritise the recruitment of Australian nationals.

Critics of 457 said Australian workers lost out to foreign counterparts.

In its place, two new temporary visas will carry additional requirements and draw from a smaller list of eligible professions.

"The new system will be manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest," Mr Turnbull said on Tuesday.

What was the 457 visa?

A four-year business visa which allowed people to live in Australia with their immediate family.

It was designed to fill gaps in skilled labour but it had been criticised as being too accessible.

In 2016, the most 457s were granted to cooks, developers, programmers and medical workers

According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia on 457 visas last year, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6%), the UK (19.5%) and China (5.8%).

What are the changes?

Mr Turnbull said the current four-year 457 system will be replaced by visas lasting two or four years.

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