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Malcolm Turnbull’s plans for 457 visas have been criticised. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Corporate opposition to 457 visa axing

Parts of corporate Australia have attacked the federal government's axing of 457 immigration work visas, claiming it is a politically driven move and unfairly targets less than 1 per cent of the workforce.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors says the overhaul of the visa system is a populist and protectionist move by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government.

The 457 visa program has played an important role in addressing skill shortages, particularly during the mining investment boom, according to the group's chief economist, Stephen Walters.

"Shifts like this towards a populist, inward-looking, or protectionist approach by either side of politics ignore the fact that Australia is a participant in a global market for labour and capital," Mr Walters said.

Australia needs an appropriate, non-discriminatory skilled migration program to help offset the ageing population, he said.

Until the replacement program was in place, it was difficult to assess whether it better addressed the nation's skills shortages, Mr Walters said.

The 457 visas are to be replaced by two visas, a temporary two-year visa and a four-year visa with tighter eligibility rules, including a high command of the English language and a criminal check.

The current list of 651 occupations that now qualify for a temporary visa will be cut to 435, including the likes of nurses, cooks and mechanics.

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Comments

Perth
From enquiries I have had, the most asked question is, if today I am on a 457 visa and my job is cut from the occupations list - what avenues will there be to convert to a permanent resident in the future?

West Perth
I always found it interesting that nurses (among oter occupations) were subject to 457s, when my sister, being a nursing graduate, could not get a job. No experience...but then how could she get any when the system is effectively closed because hospitals and care homes advertise for 4+ years experience. Of course, overseas nurses are required under this system, because there are so few nurses locally who meet the employment criteria...

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