This initiative was announced on Facebook by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

“It is important businesses still get access to the skills they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest,” Turnbull said. The Prime Minister also said the new programme will ensure that foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps and not brought in because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian.

The 457 visa is to be abolished from March 2018, and replaced by a new temporary work visa called the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa. The changes to the occupations list for 457 visas will come into effect from 19 April 2017.  The changes will also impact people applying for permanent residence through the Employer Nomination Scheme [ENS] and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme [RSMS] visa.

The new TSS visa is likely to be more restrictive than the current 457 visa – of shorter duration with tougher requirements in terms of skill level and labour market testing. Businesses seeking to sponsor staff for temporary visas should look at lodging their applications well before March 2018.

Applicants for permanent employer sponsored visas will also be impacted, but it is not yet clear when these changes will come into effect. The main changes are in relation to the amount of work experience required, English requirement and age limit. Applicants who are eligible for permanent employer visas should proceed with lodging their application as soon as possible to avoid the changes.