457 Temporary work visas in decline

THE number of people coming to Australia on temporary skilled work visas has fallen to its lowest level in four years, new government figures show.

The number of 457 visas issued in April was 23 per cent lower than the number issued in March, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship report shows.

So far this financial year, 45,360 visas have been issued, down nearly four per cent on the previous year.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans says the fall is due to recent changes the government introduced to protect local jobs.

The changes included requiring employers to take on local workers before looking overseas, and paying foreign workers the same pay and conditions as Australian workers.

"The ... visa program is showing that it is responding to the economic conditions,'' Senator Evans said in a statement.

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