On 18 April 2017, the Australian Government announced that the 457 visas will be abolished and replaced with a new temporary skill shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. Existing 457 visa arrangements will be grandfathered.
The TSS will consist of a short-term stream of up to two years and a medium-term stream of up to four years. Key changes for the four-year visas would include two years’ work experience, a criminal record check, and, in most cases, mandatory labour market testing. More information on the changes is available here.
It is expected that the Government will also announce a $300 million training fund to bolster skills for young Australians and redeployed workers, with the details to be outlined in the upcoming May federal budget.
Master Builders broadly welcomes the prioritising of providing Australians with jobs and training our young people for rewarding careers. However, access to foreign workers to fill immediate skills gaps on projects where locals cannot or will not meet demand for skilled labour is important for the productivity of the building and construction industry.