Australia has NOT “abolished” work permits. It has only replaced the current work permit visa with a new “improved” work permit visa. And international students simply remain unaffected.

In an announcement on 18th April 2017, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, gave an impression that “work permits” are being abolished. When in reality, the current work permits known as “subclass 457 visa” was being “replaced” by another “work permit visa”. The media and commentators need to also do a “fact check” and be reminded that “international students” continue to have a “pathway to work/migration after studies”.

The current 457 sub-class visa is only being replaced by a TSS (Temporary Skilled Visa). So, we can certainly summarise that the announcement and the hype around it is more for electoral gains and will not impact genuine import of workers provided the occupation category is either in short, medium and long term skill shortage list.

These visas will be granted for 4 years for occupations falling under Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), previously known as SOL, and for 2 years for occupations falling under CSOL, henceforth known as Shorter-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). This new category will come into effect starting March 2018.

To begin with, the DIBP has removed 219 occupations from the list of eligible occupations and caveats have been added to 59 other occupations.

Here is the list of removed occupations.

Of the 216 jobs being slashed from the eligible occupations list, 18 of those being cut haven’t been used once in the last decade. Those jobs include turf growers, deer farmers and detectives. You can see that almost all the “more popular” occupations including several that were flagged for removal such as “accountants” and “engineers” and “IT workers” HAVE NOT BEEN REMOVED at all. The list of removed occupations will not impact majority of the students.

Interestingly, media gave an impression that Australia has got “trumped” and the “international students” will be affected.

UK’s Daily Mail headlines the announcement as Australia risks losing thousands of fee-paying university students from India after dumping the 457 visa – and more than 32,000 could study elsewhere

Take a look at the article on this link and you will find that the article has just no substance to back the headline.

The article further goes on to indicate that the move will harm the Indian – Australian relationship when in reality the current 457 visa holders are not affected and most of them are IT workers who remain on the list of acceptable occupations.

Now take a look at this article from the Indian media that too makes the Australian decision as an attempt to spite India.


This article too misses out the fact that the sub-class 457 visa was being examined for a long time in Australia and it is not just for India. The sub-heading stating that MODI SANG KIYE BHARAT DARSHAN, VAPAS LAUTE HI DIYA JHATKA is simply hilarious. Unscrupulous migration agents have abused the provisions for a long time now. Sponsorships were “organised” for a “fee” and expose after expose revealed the way by which the sponsored paid their own salaries. 457 has been under a scanner for a long time all knew that it will be improved. This is exactly what has happened. One work permit visa has been replaced by another. Those who have the right communication skills and are in occupation in shortage, have little to be worried.

Students are absolutely unaffected. Student visas regulations remain the same. With the simplification to the list of acceptable financial institutions for student visas, it has actually become easier. International students move to work after studies through a visa called sub-class 485 (referred as PSW) and this too remains unaffected. Students who gain the experience during the PSW and having the right background will be able to move on to Permanent Residency or even the new “work permit”. All the popular skills that International students currently study for remain on the occupation list and this includes several of the skills that had been flagged for removal. Such as Accounting or Engineering or Nursing or IT. So, in summary, international students remain unaffected.

The website of a migration expert indicates:

As someone who has been associated for migration industry for long, I heartily welcome the government’s move. For far too long this visa scheme was being misused by unscrupulous elements who brought a bad name to the industry. Now do we have a dearth of people in Australia who can be retail managers? Why do we need people coming from outside for that? Or, for that matter, people working as “cooks” in a pub or a fast food joint, where all you do is heat the food and churn out burgers?

At the same time, I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull for also not tarring all with the same brush and retaining occupations which Australian businesses genuinely need. Just go through the list of eligible occupations and it will be clear that the migration option still remains open for a genuinely skilled person in a job that genuinely requires skills of a particular kind.

The fact sheet on the changes can be found on

Click to access abolition-replacement-457.pdf


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