The government’s visa crackdown is estimated to slash Australia’s annual skilled immigration intake by more than 55,000, or about a quarter of the total.
The Australian Population Research Institute’s study suggests this could ease congestion and house price growth. The government’s amendments have put an axe through the two pillars of the past immigration policy, encouraging employers to recruit as many skilled temporary foreign workers as they want and then facilitating their transition to permanent residence via employer sponsorship.
In May 2018, the Turnbull government slashed the number of occupations eligible for employer sponsorship by one-third to 435, lifted English-language requirements, and announced the replacement of the 457 visa with a new temporary skills shortage visa. Almost 45,400 skilled temporary 457 visas were issued in the 2016 financial year and 48,250 permanent employer sponsorship visas, together making up about half of Australia’s net overseas immigration of 200,000.