The 457 visa system is to be scrapped and replaced with a new two-tiered system which the Turnbull government says will help ensure that “Australian jobs will be filled by Australians, wherever possible”.
But unions have warned that key weaknesses in the temporary skilled migration system remain.
Under the new arrangements announced on 18 April:
The government’s move comes with an admission that the current system has been totally discredited by evidence of employer rorts and worker exploitation. But the union movement has warned that tighter controls will be needed to stop such employer behaviour.
In particular, “market testing” ie the identification of skill gaps will still rely too much on employers themselves and is hard for government to monitor.
Unions have also pointed out that some of the worst recent examples of temporary worker exploitation have involved people on student and working holiday visas, not just 457s.
“Unions want to see a full tripartite review mechanism for work visas and rigorous labour market testing," ACTU President Ged Kearney said.