Reuters 18 April 2017
Australia will abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a new program requiring better English-language and job skills, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.
Turnbull, struggling with poor voter approval ratings, rejected suggestions the visa policy change was in response to far-right wing political parties, such as One Nation demanding more nationalistic policies.
But in a Facebook announcement Turnbull said: “Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values.”
Turnbull said the visa change would attract better skilled workers and see Australians employed over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa program.
“We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains—Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,” he said. “We’ll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.”
The 457 visa was introduced in the 1990s to expedite the entry of business professionals and highly skilled migrants but over time it was opened up to include a broad suite of workers.