Industry speaks up against Turnbull’s abolition of 457 visa

Industry speaks up against Turnbull’s abolition of 457 visa

Industry reacts to the government's move to abolish its 457 visa program

Instead, he suggested that IT organisations need to be discouraged from employing cheaper overseas personnel for these roles and instead be encouraged to set-up internship relationships with tertiary education institutions where these skills can be taught on the job.

He also claimed that the government should be providing incentives for Australian IT organisations to employ local graduates and provide them with continuous on-the-job training.

Transparency is another important component of a better skilled visa program that Hudson said needs addressing.

"We understand that IT is a complex industry and that some skills will always have to be supplemented with overseas personnel as the skills are not available locally.

"The IT industry is one of the largest contributors to 457 visa growth and exploitation. Details are still very thin on just what the Government intends to do to make the skilled worker visa system more transparent and fair but we generally support this latest political rhetoric that says changes are required," he added.

However, it is important to note that majority of jobs that were applicable for the 457 visa are still covered by the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa that will replace it, even though they don’t necessarily lead up to be applicable for permanent residency.

According to Turnbull, the new visa set to replace the 457 visa, the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, is aimed at better targeting genuine skills shortages, including in regional Australia.

“It will include new requirements, including previous work experience, better English language proficiency and labour market testing. To help train Australians to fill skills gaps, we will also establish a new training fund.

“We’re putting jobs first; we’re putting Australians first,” he said previously.

The professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, The ACS, has welcomed changes to skilled migration policy in Australia, following the Turnbull Government’s plans to abolish the Subclass 457 visa in favour of the new TSS visa, claiming it is as a measure to address genuine skills shortages in Australia.

It mentioned that the aim of the new TSS visa is to ensure Australian workers have priority to Australian jobs, while at the same time ensuring Australian businesses have access to temporary and critically needed talent.

“Strengthening labour market testing was one of ACS’ key recommendations in our May 2014 submission to the Independent Review of Integrity in the subclass 457 programme. We are pleased to see this is a key focus in the Prime Minister’s announcement," ACS president, Anthony Wong, said.

According to Wong, the new TSS visa will include a "strengthened training obligation" for employers sponsoring foreign skilled workers to provide "enhanced training outcomes" for Australians in high-need industries and occupations.

“While labour market testing and training benchmarks have previously existed in the 457 visa framework, we see tightened criteria under a TSS programme as an important signal that the Turnbull Government understands the need to treat Australia’s human capital as a strategic asset as we expedite our transition to the digital and knowledge-based economies,” Wong said.

“Skilled migration in all its forms should be a source of competitive advantage for any country. It should never be at the expense of the domestic labour market and attracting full workforce participation.”

The implementation of the new reforms is expected to be completed in March 2018.

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Tags governmentMalcolm Turnbull457 visas

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