- In April, the Government announced a major skilled migration reform implementation process that would start immediately and conclude in March 2018 when the subclass 457 visa would eventually be abolished and replaced with a Temporary Skills Shortage visa.
- The scope and manner of the reform implementation has come under attack and practitioners face uncertainty as the changes unfold.
Barely a week passes in Australia without some public outcry, political wrangling or media commentary over the shape and direction of our nation’s immigration programs and policies.
In a Facebook-first announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull MP on 18 April 2017, followed by a Canberra press conference shortly thereafter, Australia was told the government would be “putting Australian workers first” and that a major skilled migration reform implementation process would commence immediately and conclude in March 2018, when the subclass 457 visa would eventually be abolished and replaced with a Temporary Skills Shortage (‘TSS’) visa. The populist flavour of the message was abundantly clear as the Facebook video had the Prime Minister standing in front of an Australian flag and incanting the words ‘Australia’ and ‘Australian’ nine times in a broadcast lasting just under 90 seconds.
As we reach the half-way point in the reform implementation process, and bearing in mind the real prospect that all legal practitioners will be able to practise immigration law without having to be regulated by the Migration Agents Registration Authority from 1 July 2018 (see Schedule 1 to the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2017), it is timely to delve a little deeper.