Australia toughens foreign worker visas, says Australian jobs for Australians

Trevor Jackson
April 19, 2017

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has abolished the 457 visa for skilled workers.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said restructuring the program would make it more sustainable and provided a chance to hit the "reset button" on temporary skilled migration.

"We're putting jobs first, we're putting Australians first", Turnbull said. Over 95,000 foreign workers are now working in Australia on the 457 visa. At the time, Dutton said the government would be abolishing fast-track arrangements which were allowing skilled migrants to work in fast food restaurants. "They would've been able to achieve numerous changes they announced today under the current program".

However, Australia's Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science, Greg Hunt, subsequently singled out IT workers amid the plans, conceding that the local tech industry has a genuine need of workers that had come to Australia under the 457 visa provisions.

Turnbull released a video message on his Facebook page this afternoon explaining that 457 visas would be scrapped in favour of a new temporary migration scheme.

Migrants on 457 visas can range from doctors to tradespeople to cooks, and are eligible to work in Australia for up to four years.

Australian high commissioner to India, Harinder Sindhu said, "India provides the highest number of temporary skilled workers to Australia; eight out of the top 10 occupations for Indian 457 visa holders (as at December 2016) were IT professionals".

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement today, saying the move is aimed at giving priority for jobs to Australian workers.

Echoing United States President Donald Trump and his "America First" mantra, Mr Turnbull said he wanted to focus on "Australian jobs and Australian values".

"We are bringing the 457 visa class to an end".

"We'll seriously consider any proposal once the Government releases all the details - but right now we're concerned that Mr Turnbull is just rebadging the same visa system with the same dodgy loopholes".

Current 457 visa holders will be unaffected by the changes.

An extended four-year visa will be limited to 183 occupations, with tighter eligibility rules, including a higher standard of English and criminal checks.

Responding to a query, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said that the government was examining consequences of the new policy in consultation with all stakeholders.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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