The Federal Government will abolish the 457 visa and replace it with two new visas, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
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”.
Mr Turnbull said the new system would be “manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest”.
“The migration program should only operate in our national interest. This is all about Australia’s interest,” Mr Turnbull said.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the Government would also slash the number of occupations available for the two-year visa, down from the current tally of more than 650.
Mr Dutton said there would be a grandfathering arrangement for current visa holders, but the changes would stop the “open-ended” nature of the scheme.
“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 Mr Dutton said the Government would scrap the fast-track arrangements in place for 457 skilled work visas for fast food chains.
The visa is designed to fill job vacancies which are difficult to find Australians for and allows holders to bring members of their family to Australia on a 457 secondary visa.
The latest figures from the Immigration Department stated there had been a drop in 457 visas holders in Australia to 95,758 in September 2016.
The majority of the visa holders were from India, which accounted for almost a quarter of the intake, followed by the UK and China at 19.5 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.