A file photo of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The Australian government will relax visa restrictions for skilled migrants, in an effort to make the country more competitive.

A temporary work visa, the 457 visa allows skilled workers to come to Australia and work for an approved business for up to four years.

In a statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, along with Trade Minister Andrew Robb, and Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Scott Morrison, announced several measures which will make it easier for Australian businesses to employ skilled migrants, Xinhua reported.

“The 457 program must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business,” the statement said.

In a separate development, the government will introduce a new Premium Investor Visa (PIV), which offers a faster 12-month pathway to permanent Australian residency than the existing Significant Investor Visa.

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