ANAUSTRALIA’S immigration minister says the Government is planning to pull out of a visa program for Australians who work overseas.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says he’s concerned about the number of Australians who are working overseas and believes Australia’s immigration laws are inadequate to address the situation.
Mr Dutton is warning that the Government could withdraw the 457 visa program if it can’t reach an agreement with Labor on the issue.
The 457 visa scheme was introduced to provide temporary jobs for overseas Australians who want to work in Australia.
It allows employers to bring people to Australia with the intention of completing a 457 visa application but if they fail to meet the requirements, they can be refused a visa.
But Mr Dutton has flagged that if Labor can’t find a way to change the rules, he will pull the program out of Australia.
He told ABC Radio National that the 457 program had “gone a long way to creating good jobs” for Australians and that the program was working well for people who were looking for a new job.
“The 457 scheme is working well, we have a number of companies coming in and they’re bringing good-paying jobs to Australia,” Mr Dutonsaid.
He said that while the scheme had been working well and the number working overseas had been reduced, “there’s still a lot of Australians out there who are not getting a fair deal and need a change”.
“What I’m not going to do is continue to use a visa system that is not working and is not creating good-quality jobs,” he said.
“It is time for us to take a look at this and if we can’t, we’ll withdraw the program and say goodbye to the 457 scheme.”
Mr Duton said he was concerned about what he described as the “double standard” that some Australian workers faced.
According to the Migration Institute, about 5 per cent of Australians have a 457-related job, but that figure could be higher.
Labor has long pushed for the visa to expire, saying it had failed to do enough to help those in the country who were not eligible.
Under Labor, 457 visas were available for people aged from 18 to 29.
The 457 program has also been criticised for allowing people to get jobs they could not find in Australia, especially in construction, mining and farming industries.
In 2014, Labor introduced a new 457 visa which would allow people to come to Australia and work as long as they had completed a 457 job.
But that scheme was suspended for about a year after a court ruled that it was unconstitutional.
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