Australia to simplify temporary work visas

Australia plans to simplify their temporary work visa program by reducing the number of different visas available. The planned changes are a result of responses by key stakeholders to a discussion paper released by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

"The government has considered submissions made in response to the initial discussion paper and has drawn up its proposed model for visa simplification," said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

He said that the government was committed to reducing the number of temporary work visa types (such as the subclass 457 work visa) available by 50 percent by 2012. In addition, he stated that the government planned to reduce to total number of visa subclasses by 50 percent by 2015.

"The final settings for simplified temporary work visas will be decided after further public consultation, based on feedback to this latest discussion paper," he added.

Simplifying Australia's temporary work visas is part of an overall plan to simplify Australia's immigration system. According to DIAC, the changes are part of a broader effort "aimed at cutting the red tape burden, [and] recognising that Australia's immigration system is an important source of skilled labour which contributes to productivity improvements and economic growth."

"The proposed model reduces the number of temporary work visas from 18 to nine by merging common regulatory requirements," said Senator Nick Sherry, Minister Assisting on Deregulation.

"This will achieve further simplification by standardising similar regulations and removing regulations where they are assessed as being no longer required," he added.

DIAC stated that the visa simplification would not effect current eligibility and would make it easier for applicants to understand the requirements.