Abolition and Replacement of Australia's 457 Visa
News of the abolition and replacement of Australia's 457 visa may have sparked concerns for international students planning on (or at least interested in) studying abroad in Australia. But the good news is that these changes should not directly impact study and post-study employment opportunities for international students in Australia.
What is/was the 457 visa?
In a nut shell, the 457 visa was a temporary work visa that allowed Australian employers to sponsor specific skilled workers from overseas to come and work temporarily in Australia. These workers must meet certain skill requirements based on a list of skill gaps in the workforce.
On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the 457 visa will be abolished and replaced with an entirely new two- or four-year Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa as of March 2018. This new visa has significantly condensed and targeted the occupation list of admissible skills from 650 to around 450, as well as tightened eligibility requirements for overseas skilled workers.
"While there may have been some confusion about the visa changes, I would like to assure all students considering study in Australia that the rules around student visas have not changed."
- Yasmine Phillips, Acting Media Relations Manager, Curtin University
Why will it not heavily impact international students?
While the 457 visa isn't directly related to international students studying in Australia, it may cause some concerns around post-study employment opportunities. However, the visa needed for post-study employment (458) differs from the 457 visa. The 458 visa's current list of eligible occupations remains the same. Professor Dean Forbes of Flinders University has said that "changing the visa arrangements will have no direct impact on international students in Australia. The current student post-study work rights have not been changed."
However, universities have expressed concern about the impact the new visa arrangements will have on the reputation of studying Australia. "This may diminish Australia’s attractiveness for international students who are aiming to get permanent residency after graduation," Professor Forbes adds.
If you are considering studying abroad in Australia, it is highly recommended that you speak with the career advisers at your chosen Australian university to determine your study plan and, in light of the changes to the 457 visa, explore what post-study opportunities there will be going forward.