Axing of the popular Australian 457 visa this week will have minimal impact on the Dubbo business community, says Dubbo Chamber president Matt Wright.
The visa was abolished by the federal government in a move to “put Australians first”.
It will be replaced with a two to four-year Temporary Skill Shortage initiative and won’t impact those currently in Australia on the working visa.
“These changes will see the 650 eligible types of roles that these migrants can take up reduced by about a third,” Mr Wright said.
“And of the roles that have been removed there’s a massive number of them which will have minimal impact on us at Dubbo as a whole.”
He said the changes appear to be insignificant and lack substance, and will add more red tape for migrants as they apply for work and residency within Australia.
“I think it’s possibly a government policy that makes out that they’re doing something to protect Australian jobs, but I don’t think that there’s much substance to it,” Mr Wright said.
“I agree Australian jobs need to be protected and I get where they're coming from to bring skilled migrants into the country to fill shortage gaps, but maybe recognising their qualification once you bring them into the country as well so we can transfer qualifications from one country into the next.”
A lack of local workers looking to gain employment is another issue Mr Wright said will need attention.
“We still hear different employers that often they do take on unskilled migrant workers because they can’t get jobs by local people, so they’re happy to take on migrants just to fill a shortage,” he said.
The 457 visa was introduced by the Howard government in 1996 to fill skill shortages in the Australian workforce. It required employers to grant sponsorship to skilled applicants, allowing workers to live in Australia for up to four years.
The new temporary visa requires applicants to have work experience, a high standard of English skills and a criminal check.