The 457 Changes ARE substantive
April 27, 2017

During the recent 457 abolition news, the opposition leader Bill Shorten has criticised the coalition government on these changes, claiming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull only cares about his own interests with these non-substantive changes.

Turnbull pledged abolition of the 457 temporary visa class. His message: “We are ensuring that Australian jobs and Australian values are first, placed first.”

Bill Shorten told the cameras that Turnbull was just about cosmetics. “The fact of the matter,” he retorted, “is that for bakers and builders, for cooks, for nurses, for mechanics, they can still come in from overseas.”  He continues to proclaim his skeptisim of Mr Turnbull’s crackdown as only being a con job and making no real difference.​ Please find complete list of removed occupations below.

Mr Shorten said he backs reforms to 457 visas, but not just a category name- change.

‘That’s just shifting deck chairs on the proverbial sinking ship.’

The political purpose of Turnbull is obvious: to depict the Turnbull government as tougher on foreign workers than Shorten. Turnbull has cast himself as Mr Control: That the government is in control, of borders, of the national interest, of foreign worker entry.

Meanwhile, there are many sectors that are alarmed by these changes, as they shall make a substantive influence in their industries. For example, the IT sector proclaim the visas were essential for the industry’s growth. Around 25 per cent of the Australian staff are on 457s. The biggest thing lacking is senior technical talent with deep experience in the volumes that is needed for the industry to keep growing.

Other areas which have been influenced include the ‘racing stables’. Highly experienced racing stable and stud staff will now be disallowed work visas after the scrapping of the rule which allowed them to enter under the loose category of “horse trainer”.  Stallion handlers and barn operators were included in this category, with most of their leading stud sourcing were from overseas staff, because locals lacked the skills.

Foreign workers comprise up to 40 per cent of workers at most leading stables and stud farms and most are employed in positions requiring the most specific skills.
“It’s not that businesses don’t want to employ Australians, they do — it’s costly and there’s lots of red tape to get people in on visas — but local staff who have the experience to do this work are almost ¬impossible to come by.

“We need people with real experience dealing with these horses, and that’s hard to come by when Australia has one of the most urbanised populations in the world” says Thoroughbred Breeders Australia chief executive Tom Reilly.

Mr Shorten continues to argue that the fact that there were 130,000 fewer apprenticeship places than there were three years ago demonstrated that the government was not prioritising Australian jobs.

We are yet to see the full effect of these changes on many Australian industries and what new changes may continue to be introduced. One this is for certain, however, that these are substantive changes.


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