This week, the government announced it would abolish the 457 visa and replace it with a new temporary skill shortage visa program. The change has met a mixed response from businesses.
Jenny Lambert, director of employment, education and training at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the key issue for the business community is to “try and reset the button on confidence in the temporary skilled migration system”.
“We really have accepted that we have to get rid of the 457 visa and put in place arrangements that the community can be more confident in. That said, we’ve got some issues about the detail and we’re willing and wanting to work with the government on that,” Lambert says.
Lambert maintains that rorting was never a big part of the 457 visa program.
“When you look at the bigger picture of use of the 457 over the last few years, the predominant users are state governments in their health portfolios, universities and academia bringing in specialist researchers and scientists … and also highly skilled CEOs and managers of multinational corporations. So 75% of the use of 457 over the last five years has been in that high-skilled end. So when we talk about rorting, we’ve always seen it as more at the margins, at the lower-skilled end of the program.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra