malcolm turnbull
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton listens on during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, April 18, 2017. AAP/Lukas Coch/via Reuters

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the federal government would abolish the 457 visa and would replace it with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. The Australian prime minister said that the temporary skills visas would put jobs first and Australians first.

He said through his Facebook announcement that Australians must have priority for Australian jobs. The statement signalled a reduction in the occupations available to skilled foreign workers. It also signalled the raising of the threshold for foreign workers to qualify. “We’ll no longer let 457 visas be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians. So the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa specifically designed to recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest,” Turnbull said.

The TSS visa program would be comprised of Short-Term stream and Medium-Term stream. The Short-Term stream would last up to two years, while the Medium-Term stream would lasts up to four years. Both streams would support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce. The reformed package aimed to strengthen the integrity and quality of the temporary and employer sponsored skilled migration programmes in the country.

The new temporary work visa would require the workers to undergo criminal record check. They would also undergo in the majority of cased for a mandatory labour market testing. According to Turnbull, more than 200 jobs would be delisted under the two-year stream visa. On the other hand, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that the four-year visa would be given to workers with a higher standard of English. He added that eligible jobs would even tighter under the new four-year visa. Meanwhile, current 457 visa-holers would be unaffected.

Malcolm Turnbull abolishes 457 visas

YouTube/The Sydney Morning Herald