PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he is scrapping the controversial 457 visa program for skilled migrants as part of a bid to tackle unemployment.
“We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” Mr Turnbull said.
The announcement was made in a Facebook video this afternoon, in which the Prime Minister stressed the reforms were focused on “Australian jobs and Australian values”.
He lauded Australia as an “immigration nation” and the “most successful multi-cultural nation in the world”.
“But the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,” he continued.
The visas will be replaced by a new program, “specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest”.
The new program will have requirements including previous work experience, better English language skills and labour market testing, the Prime Minister said.
A new training fund will also be established to “help train Australians to fill skills gaps”.
Temporary work visas, otherwise known as 457 visas, allow skilled workers to come to Australia and be sponsored by an approved business for up to four years, if the business cannot find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the job.
More to come.