On Wednesday 19 April 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the existing 457 Visa Laws would be replaced with a new temporary work visa regime.

In announcing the changes, the Prime Minister stated the express purpose of the changes was to ensure that future temporary work visas would only be issued for jobs that could not be performed by Australian residents.

“We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” Mr. Turnbull said.

The key elements of the new temporary work visa system can be summarised as follows:

  • The system will include a short-term visa (two-years) and a second longer term visa (4 years).
  • Then number of number of eligible occupations to apply to both visas will be reduced.
  • The new two-year visa will not allow permanent residency
  • The longer-term visa is intended to compensate for long-term skills gaps and will require a higher standard of English than the two-year visa
  • Both visas will require prior work experience in the relevant occupation and applicants will need to satisfy a criminal record check (not required under the existing system)
  • The new scheme will require employers to advertise jobs in the Australian labour market before filling them with foreign workers
  • A fee of $1,150 will apply for the short-term visa, while medium-term applicants will pay $2,400
  • The system will make provision for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records to provide improved monitoring of visa holders
  • Many of the concessions that applied for employers in regional Australia under the original scheme will be continued under the new scheme

The Government has stressed that the 95,000 skilled migrants currently holding 457 Visas would be unaffected by the changes – and would still be able to apply for permanent residency at the end of their four-year visa term.

“The changes mean that it will not be possible to employ service station operators (i.e. fuel and convenience staff) on a temporary work visa in the future”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

While ACAPMA understands that this may create some transitional issues for some businesses within our industry, the Association believes that these issues are manageable and has been working on measures that are intended to make it easier for retail businesses to source local employees in the future.

“One of these initiatives is a recent partnership that has been developed with Paddl which will provide a mechanism for fuel businesses to source employees via an employment service operated in partnership with academic institutions in Australia”, said Mark.

Information about the new Paddl initiative can be found here: https://acapmag.com.au/home/2017/04/connect-new-breed-console-operators/