The Tamworth Business Chamber believes that the scrapping of the 457 visa program will not only help to arrest soaring unemployment in the region, but also attract more professionals to regional Australia.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday that the current 457 scheme will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit "the best and brightest.”
While Tamworth-based industries such as abattoirs and poultry will almost certainly be affected, TBC president Jye Segboer hopes that the move can help drive down the region’s soaring unemployment rate.
“The government’s decision to scrap the 457 visa in favour of putting more Australians in jobs means that we can hope to see a significant change in the staggering unemployment figures, especially here in North West NSW,” Mr Segboer said.
“The New England North West region has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 8.7 per cent - 3 percent higher than the national average.
“The Chamber also understands that there will be two new visa classes introduced in its place, a temporary skills visa for two years, and another more specialised for four years.
Prime Minister Turnbull said in the announcement that “the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest,” although did not go into further detail into which jobs and industries the new visas will be awarded to.
“Until we know what occupations will be affected by this change we can’t foresee the consequence to local business,” Mr Segboer said.
“The benefit, however, is more obvious, as it may provide access to employment opportunities that local residents may not have previously considered, and we hope to see more local residents off welfare benefits and into gainful employment.
“More jobs in the area, may even provide further regional relocation incentives for those living in the big cities.”