'Aussie values': 457 visa will go

Andrew Cummings
April 26, 2017

Adopting a new "Australians first" approach to skilled migration, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will be abolishing the existing 457 visa programme, now used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment in the country.

The federal government will move to abolish the 457 visa program used by the IT industry to fill skills shortages with overseas workers.

In this August 10, 2016 photo, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media from the government offices in Sydney.

The citizenship test will have "new and more meaningful questions" about an applicant's understanding of and commitment to Australia's shared values and responsibilities.

The prime minister stressed that the country must continue to attract people who are willing to embrace Australian values regardless of their nationality or religion, and that the test puts Australian values at the very heart of Australian citizenship and pushes the country to become an even stronger and more successful multicultural country.

A new temporary visa will replace the programme and last between two or four years, which Mr Turnbull said will "better target" skilled workers.

"Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values", he said.

Applicants must have at least two years' experience in their skilled profession and there will be a minimum market salary rate to make sure Australian workers are not undercut.

Migrants will face a tougher citizenship test which will assess their commitment to Australia and their attitudes to religious freedom and gender equality.

"There is a sound argument in my mind that people need to demonstrate that if they're coming to Australia they need to abide by Australian laws, they need to abide by Australian values and they need to integrate into the Australian community", Mr Dutton told Sky News.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was quick to defend the new "Australian values" test, a part of the modified requirements to become an Australian citizen.

"Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs", he said.

Turnbull also announced the establishment of a new training fund to help Australians fill skills gaps that now exist in the country.

The co-founder of successful technology company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, says 457 visas are essential, telling The Australian anything that makes bridging the talent gap more hard is bad for the country.

There are now more than 95,000 people in Australia on the 457 visa, the majority of from India, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the total intake, followed by the United Kingdom at 19.5% and China at 5.8%.

"We see this change as evolutionary and a new policy of the Australian government".

Applicants for Australian citizenship are now tested on their knowledge of law and national symbols such as the colors of the Aboriginal flag.

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