Visa Restrictions Welcomed

The Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen has welcomed the Federal Governments’ move to abolish the Subclass Australian-457 visa for foreign workers saying the move will safeguard Australian jobs.

He says the abolition moves will also see the creation of a new temporary visa restricted to critical skills shortages.

“The Australian public lost confidence in the program and there was a clear view that Australian workers were being displaced in favour of foreign workers, now that the entire program has been scrapped nationwide, that’s even better.”

Mr Christensen said a replacement program would have much tougher requirements and 200 fewer occupations that foreigners were able to fill.

“There will be a requirement for proven market testing and a doubling of the cost to businesses employing foreign workers.”

“The added cost will make it uneconomical to employ a foreign worker in place of an Australian worker.”

Mr Christensen says what will effectively be a foreign worker tax (not applicable to backpackers) will fund training of Australian workers to fill skills shortages.

The move has also been welcomed by Australia’s mining industry.

Adani coal miningThe total number of 457 visas given to workers in the mining industry in 2015/16 was a quarter of that of industries with health services and a fraction of the hospitality industry, according to QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

“Last financial year, 457 visa holders in the Queensland mining industry decreased by 26.5 per cent. Hospitality, health care, education, construction, manufacturing, IT and professional services are the big users of 457 visas,” Macfarlane explained.

The Subclass 457 Visa will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa. The new visa will include mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.

More than 110,000 foreign workers entered the country in 2013 under the former Labor government.