457 visas

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that the government would scrap 457 visas left no one happy. The 457 will be replaced with two new Temporary Skilled Shortage Visas (TSSV) — one that lasts for two years and offers no pathway to permanent residency and another which may be issued for up to four years. 216 roles have been removed from the list of occupations for which a visa can be issued.

As the embers cooled in the debris of US President Donald Trump’s 59 Tomahawk missiles fired at Syria, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an immigration crackdown that includes a new US-style patriot test for those seeking Australian citizenship and the scrapping of 457 foreign worker visas.

Four Corners’ exposure of the massive exploitation of workers on 417 visas — the backpackers’ visa — by farms and factories has triggered inquiries and legal minefields for supermarkets giants such as Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
Thirty people attended a public meeting on July 3 to discuss the issue of temporary migration. Organised by Australia Asia Worker Links (AAWL), the meeting was called in response to the debate around 457 visas, which allow employers to bring overseas workers to Australia on a temporary basis.

The federal government said on February 23 it would introduce several changes to the 457 temporary visa program, to take effect from July. The proposals were applauded by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and criticised by big business. The 457 visa system is a highly exploitative, insecure and discriminatory visa system, originally introduced under the former John Howard government. Once elected, the ALP kept the visa class in place as a favour to big business, tinkering with it rather than abolishing it in favour of strengthening permanent skilled migration.

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