Editorial April 19 2017

ONLY time will tell on the Prime Minister's decision  to axe 457 immigration work visas.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday announced a plan to abolish what has often been the controversial 457 visa program for temporary skilled migrants.

Both sides of politics have, at times, been critical of the program so the PM’s move comes as little surprise.

It is an “Australian’s first” nationalistic approach.

The scheme will be replaced by two temporary skills shortage visas which will come with more stringent rules.

Typically,  the move has met with support and some scepticism on a political level. Yet the same is true from the public domain.

”About time you done something for the people of this country even though it's small in comparison to other things it's a start,’’ one reader said.

“About time. So many jobs taken when so many can't get a job. Hopefully less unemployment,” another said.

Then there was the other side of the fence.

“Hmmnn. We'll see. Sounds like he is just reworking it. But how about some action on apprenticeships and traineeships and retraining for older workers. Then we will know if you’re serious about jobs.” another reader said.

Or this: "Really? You are stopping people with skills who contribute to this country yet you will happily bring thousands of refugees and allow them to live off benefits that we as taxpayers pay for and also people with 457 visas pay taxes and a load more just to be able to stay in the country. But please keep selling off our country you idiot.”

The 457 program was introduced by the Howard Government  in 1996-97.

In recent years the program had been in decline anyway and the people on 457 visas make up less than one per cent of the Australian workforce.

On that basis alone, this change is hardly going to have a massive impact on the Australian unemployment figures.

For many companies the skill shortage is real and workers on 457 visas provide them with an answer federal governments up until this point have not been able to solve. This issue is not one which is cut and dried.

The Prime Minister’s move is a start, yet if Malcolm Turnbull truly wants to put “Australians first” and get more people into the workforce then there certainly is more to be done yet.

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