The Federal Government will abolish the 457 visa and replace it with two new visas, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today.
Current visa holders will not be affected by the changes, which will see the introduction of two new temporary skills visas — a two-year visa and a more specialised one for four years "targeted at higher skills" with stricter English-speaking language requirements.
"The migration program should only operate in our national interest. This is all about Australia's interest. This is about jobs for Australians," Turnbull said.
Turnbull explained that the idea was to stop people hiring from overseas who thought this path was easier than hiring an Australian.
Dutton said there would be a grandfathering arrangement for current visa holders, but the changes would stop the "open-ended" nature of the scheme.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the Government will also slash the number of occupations available for the two-year visa, down from the current tally of more than 650 by 200. The four year visa will also require a police check and mandatory labour market testing.
The existing 457 visa program is conducted for a period of four years, but essentially it is open-ended, and it results, in many cases, in a migration outcome," he said.
"What we propose is that under the temporary skills shortage visa short-term stream there will be a two-year visa, with the options of two years, but there won't be permanent residency outcomes at the end of that."
The announcement follows a crackdown on 457 visas last month, when Dutton said the Government would scrap the fast-track arrangements in place for 457 skilled work visas for fast food chains.
A list of 52 jobs have been published that the Government intends to review and likely remove from the skills eligable for the new visas - spray painters and panel beaters are not on this list.