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The Coalition’s approach to skilled migration, 457 visas and English testing – Scott Morrison in his own words!

Scott Morrison is likely to be announced as the new Minister for Immigration.  He was the Shadow Minister for Immigration  and Citizenship from 8 up until the Federal election on the 7th September 2013.

This is what Scott Morrison has previously said in relation to:

  • Skilled Migration
  • 457 visas
  • English language requirements

Skilled Migration:

At the Brisbane Resource Industry Migration Forum for AMMA on the 8 August 2013:

"The Coalition believes in a well run migration program that focuses on skills and creates jobs for Australians," Mr Morrison said.


Paper by Scott Morrison to Address to the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, Sydney

Wednesday 17 July 2013.  At page 4:

“During the Howard years skills based migration increased from less than 30% of the permanent

program under Paul Keating to almost 70% by the time they left office. The Howard Government

also introduced the temporary skilled visa, the 457.

Research by Monash University showed that during the Howard years the percentage of Australians

who were concerned about immigration levels being too high almost halved, from more than two

thirds to just over one third. Over the same period our permanent immigration intake doubled.”

On 457 Policy under Brendan O’Connor

Scott Morrison was highly critical of the statements made by Brendan O’Connor in relation to claimed 457 rorts.

In a radio interview on the 2 May 2013 Scott Morrison said:

 “Well this report obtained by the Coalition under freedom of information demonstrates some fairly routine housekeeping changed to the 457 scheme. 

It certainly doesn't anywhere justify the sort of inflammatory rhetoric and trash talking of skilled migration that the Prime Minster and Minister O'Connor have engaged in, nor does it in any way provide any evidentiary basis for the sort of claims they've made about 10,000 people rorting the system and so on.”

At the Brisbane Resource Industry Migration Forum for AMMA on the 8 August 2013:

“Until this year the skilled migration program enjoyed bipartisan support. Labor’s attack on skilled

migration through the measuresintroduced to choke the 457 migration program with union red

tape was nothing more than economic vandalism,” he said.

Skilled Migration and English Language Requirements

On English Language Testing:

Paper by Scott Morrison to Address to the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, Sydney

Wednesday 17 July 2013.  At pages 6 and 7:

“IELTS is a quality program – used by more than 6,000 organisations across 135 countries, including

immigration departments and authorities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. IELTS

conduct around 1.9 million tests per year.

But we must be wary of creating a closed shop on English language testing or having English

language testing used as a non-tariff barrier by trade unions trying to crash the skilled migration

programme as an industrial tactic.

We should be moving towards a more competitive framework.

Australia needs to have the capacity to have progressive levels of English language capability. We

also need greater flexibility; the notion of having an English language test that is fit for purpose,

instead of a one size fits all.

There can be no argument that English skills are important. They are critical not only for personal

safety but also for participation and social cohesion.

English language skills are important to ensure awareness of compliance with occupational health

and safety rules. They are also important in allowing a visa holder to communicate and connect with

their employer, their colleagues and their community.

Temporary migrants, whether they are students or workers, can be highly vulnerable to abuse. An

understanding of English helps them access services and understand the protections available to

them, whether they are trying to rent a flat, understand the terms and conditions of their

employment, open a bank account or take out a loan.

The United Kingdom accepts over 30 language assessment systems in addition to the IELTS.

One of those providers is the renowned Cambridge English Language Assessment – formerly the

ESOL – with 4 million candidates sitting the tests in 130 countries.

The rationale behind Cambridge is that “tests need to be fit for purpose, offering users a range of

solutions that meet diverse needs”.

The level of language skills required of someone applying to come to Australia should also take into

account how long they intend to stay.

We also need more than a one-off time freeze snapshot. If a person has been living, working and

actively engaging in Australia over a number of years, it is in their interests as well as that of the

community that as their active engagement grows, their level of proficiency does not stay static;

ideally it would develop and improve over this time.”

The 457 and English Language Testing:


In an address to the National Press Club Mr Morrison said:
"There is also a need to revise the English language test that now requires a score of at least five in all four categories of the IELTS test," he told the NPC.

"These tests can be used a little like a non tariff barrier to trade by unions seeking to crash the system as an industrial system."

Source: article by  Malcolm Farr, National Political Editor, 30 March 2011,

Comments by Chris Johnston Principal of Work Visa Lawyers:

The information above is statements made by Scott Morrison in the lead up to the 2013 elections .  The extent to which promises made prior to an election will result in government policies is an unknown.

In relation to 457 visas, it is clear that Scott Morrison is a critic of the 457 policies when he was a shadow Minster. 

The open question is whether the 457 labour market testing measures will come into effect.   The relevant Legislation is the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013.  The legislation will come into effect within 6 months of the Act receiving royal assent and the last day for this to happen would be the 29 December 2013.

The Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill allows for occupations to be exempted from LMT.  The new Coalition Government could chose to make a large range or all occupations exempted from LTM, to avoid the LMT legislation having any practical effects.


AMMA Media Release, 8 August 2013

Article by  Malcolm Farr, National Political Editor, 30 March 2011,

Do You Need Help in Relation to Australian Visas?

If you require further information regarding Australian Visa application charges or your Australian visa options you contact our offices on (08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091  

This information is accurate on the 09 September 2013. 

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