International students are affected by the change of 457

(Photo: SBS)

There are tonnes of news and information of the abolition of 457 visa appeared on the internet since April 17th. Most of the international students whose major is on the occupation list, such as accounting, IT and engineering and so forth, are worried about whether it would have an influence on their career life and permanent residency application in Australia.

However, based on the information and announcement of government, the new immigration system would not have a huge influence on international students who study “immigration course” which means the major is on the occupation list and it would not affect student visa. However, the student whose major is not on the occupation list would be affected by the new policy. Due to the new restriction of the new visa, the new temporary system unlikely to impact all of the international students, but it still will have an impact on some special groups.

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia 457 immigration visa system was abolished immediately and a new immigrant system would replace it which have some different requirements for skilled immigrants on April 17th. The announcement caused a huge discussion on the both traditional media and social media platforms after the speech of Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came out.

The main reason why 457 immigration would be abolished is that the Australian government hopes to protect the job opportunities for the local Australian. Furthermore, in order to solve the unemployment rate, the abolition of 457 immigration system may work well.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017), the unemployment rate of Australian has reached a 13-month high about 5.8 per cent in April . The government promise that the change of 457 visa would not affect approximately 95,000 skilled immigrants (Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2017) currently in Australia and they are still able for permanent residency.


457 immigration visa is a famous visa system for people who plan to work and live in the Australia because the English skills and work experience are not importance during the application. Due to the special restriction of the original 457, it has become to the pathway to get permanent residency, which means it has been treated as a privileged choice for immigration.

However, the new immigration system plan to cut this way and claims that the applicant has to pass the English skill test and mandatory working test, and two-year work experience will be required. Furthermore, the new temporary visa shows that the employer has to pass a mandatory labour market testing to apply the visa system for their employees and the government remove 180 jobs that unable to apply the 457 visa. The new visa system seems to like to avoid more and more “unskilled” people to use this convenience way to get permanent residency. However, the new policy did not mention the adjustment of the visa would have an influence on the international students.

Source:Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The reason why student are over care this news because the student is a sensitive community and they are active on the internet and social media. Hare (2017) said that the 457 visa and international student visa are independence, which means they would not affect each other.

However, the facts are that it is too hard to stay and live in Australia for graduate student studied a major that not on the occupation list because the Australian companies do not prefer to hire an employee who holds a temporary visa. Thus, 457 visa has been treated as a pathway for them to apply for the permanent residency, therefore, they become competitive in the labour market to find guaranteed jobs. Therefore, a permanent residency has been treated as a certification to have a stable life in Australia.

Michelle Zheng (Photo By: Haotian Guo)

Michelle Zheng is a Chinese sales worked in a warehouse where located in Campsie for one year. Currently, she is a 457 visa applicant and living in Sydney more than 4 years. She is just a simple example for a special community. She is a special sales in her workplace because she is the only one can speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin which can strength her to communicate with customers because there are a lot of Asian lived in that suburb. The change of the 457 visa has totally “changed” her current life and future plan. Obviously, she always worried about her visa since the information of abolition of 457 visa came out. She said,” Australian government just want to drive me back to China”. Michelle has finished her bachelor’s degree in Sydney but her major is not on the occupation list that caused she have to apply the 457 visa to have a permanent residency in the future. Even the new policy announce that the current applicant would be affected by the new policy, she still worried about her career.

University of Sydney Fisher Library
Fisher Library on a Monday evening (Photo: Oliver Featherston)

In my conclusion, the change of 457 visa literally would not affect the student visa and it unlikely impact on the daily life of international student. However, as this article illustrate, some special group real exist in this society and their life and further, obviously, would be changed. There are thousands of students like Michelle Zheng stay in Sydney, and plan to get a 457 visa to have a opportunity to have a decent life here. The changes on 457 visa literally aims to save the job for the Australian, but the 457 visa holder only occupy less than 1 percent in Australia workforce.

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