What Does the 457 Visa Abolition Mean for Australia's Hospitality Industry?

Carla Harmon
April 20, 2017

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Wednesday said the 457 changes were "already unravelling", pointing to an analysis by the ALP that showed just 8.6 per cent of people now on foreign worker visas were working in jobs that would be excluded under the new visa system.

Racing Australia has sought an urgent meeting with the federal government - less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister announced a scrapping of the 457 visa system - given the large number of overseas workers who come to Australia to work in some of the country's biggest stables.

The new visa will be limited to a two-year period and a second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language.

Mr Turnbull announced changes to the 457 visa this week, including a reduction in the number of eligible occupations from 651 to 435.

The National Farmers" Federation today said it hoped the Prime Minister's "new' temporary visa programme will better address the labour needs now constraining agriculture. The program will include two new visas.

But one gas industry chief who met with Turnbull government ministers has cast doubt on the value of that promise aimed at staving off a domestic shortage.

Workers on 457 visas in Australia are common in a wide range of professions, including cooks, farmers, labourers, medicine, technology and education.

New Delhi: India is examining "consequences" of Australia's decision to abolish the 457 visa programme, and said the issue will also be looked at in the context of free trade talks.

"The reality is that in farming, much of the training is done on-the-job and experience is valued more highly than tertiary qualifications", he said.

More than 95,000 foreigners are now employed under the 457 visa, making up a mere 0.8 percent of Australia's labour force.

"However, this process is not preferable with negotiating labour agreements a time consuming and resource intensive process".

It allowed New Zealanders who arrived in Australia between February 26, 2001, and February 19, 2016 and who have earned more than A$53,000 a year for five consecutive years to apply for permanent residence from July 1, 2017.

"While overseas workers are vitally important to the agricultural industry, particularly during the peak working season, we believe sector will welcome the opportunity to train and employ more local workers", he said. Crucially for Indians hoping to use the 457 route, the new two-year visa can not be used as a pathway to permanent residency.

"We must ensure that our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest", Turnbull said in a statement.

So we're abolishing. the visas that bring temporary foreign workers into our country.

After some further comments, he said: "Australians have an enormous reservoir of good sense, and we know that our values of mutual respect, democracy, freedom, rule of law, those values, a fair go - these they are fundamental Australian values".

The overhaul of the citizenship process - which has been in gestation within the government for months - follows the Coalition's move earlier in the week to overhaul skilled migration by replacing 457 visas with two new categories which cut off pathways to permanent residency.

"Everyone is still licking their wounds over the messy negotiations around the backpacker tax a year ago, and no-one wants to see that scenario played out for a second time".

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