Government to axe 457 visas, putting strain on ICT skills shortage

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the 457 skilled visa program will be replaced by a new visa with added requirements for temporary foreign workers.

The programme, known as 457 visa, allows businesses to employ foreign workers for up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.

The move comes two days after the government unveiled stricter visa requirements for skilled workers from overseas, amid claims employers were abusing a programme now used by nearly 100,000 foreign workers.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has adopted a harsher stance towards skilled migrants, scaling back the intake of temporary workers as part of an "Australia first" tilt that will affect tens of thousands of Britons a year.

"The government will deny their tough talk on immigration and plan to ban 457 visas is because of One Nation but we all know the truth!" she tweeted.

The Prime Minister said the focus is to ensure that Australian jobs are "given to Australians first". The majority of the visa holders are from India, followed by the United Kingdom and China.

Since the economic crash in Ireland in 2008, the 457 visa has been particularly popular with Irish construction and healthcare workers looking to move to Australia.

Reports suggest that the four-year 457-visa will be replaced by two new visas-one for broader employment and the other for very specific skills, which could mean a shorter list of professions that will be welcomed in Australia.

Occupations such as sales & marketing managers, advertising managers, web designers, and a raft of ICT roles will only be available on a two-year temporary skills visa.

The new visa would "better target genuine skills shortages" and would include new requirements such as previous work experience, better English-language proficiency, a criminal record check, and labour market testing.

The Australian government has just announced sweeping proposed changes to the nation's citizenship laws.

Crucially for Indians hoping to use the 457 route, the new two-year visa can not be used as a pathway to permanent residency.

According to the department, there were 7530 visa holders working in the ICT industry by the end of 2016, making it the largest industry covered under the scheme.

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