New 'Australian values' test planned for citizenship


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon to announce the controversial 457 visa program for temporary skilled migrants would be replaced by a new temporary visa.

Under the changes to the citizenship rules unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday, applicants are required to be permanent residents for four years rather than 12 months, face a stand-alone English test and commit to embracing Australian values.

It was introduced in 1996 and allows skilled workers stay on in Australia if an employer sponsors them, but is now going to be replaced by a new programme and the list of job types that need filling will be dramatically lowered.

The citizenship crackdown follows the decision to overhaul the 457 temporary foreign worker visa system.

Instead of the 457 visas, a new temporary visa will be implemented which will be specifically created to "recruit the best and brightest" in their fields to target particular skill shortages in Australian industries.

"The new visa will better target genuine skills shortages, including in regional Australia", said Mr Turnbull.

Turnbull said that he could not allow passports to jobs that "could and should go to Australians". The new visa will likely require applicants to demonstrate previous work experience and higher English language proficiency.

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As soon as the announcement came regarding the end of 457 work visa, reactions started coming in, from Australian startups.

Mr Todd said that whilst many details at present are lacking "The replacement TSS visa is still very similar to the old 457 visa system with some additional restrictions and requirements".

The 95,000 people already in Australia on 457 visas will not be affected by the change.

Innes said that Xero, with more than 1600 employees, including several hundred in Australia, and customers in more than 180 countries, had built its business success, like many others, on being a global platform.

"Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia". Since 2012, more than 500 foreign workers have been granted [BBC report] a 457 visa to work at businesses including McDonald's, KFC and Hungry Jack's. He said Australia will adopt a new "Australians first" approach to skilled migration.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said his center-left Labor Party would consider supporting the changes in the Senate where the government does not hold a majority of seats.