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Australia scraps visa for skilled foreign workers

20 April 2017
Australia scraps visa for skilled foreign workers

The Malcolm Turnbull government of Australia today abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority are Indians workers, to tackle the growing unemployment of the nation.

The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled foreign workers to work in the country on a temporary basis.

Workers with 457 visas made up only 1.1 per cent of the industry's workforce, he said.

Australia is set to abolish the temporary work visa, in order to replace it with a new programme requiring better job skills.

The Business Council of Australia said the cancellation of the 457 program will help rebuild public confidence.

Almost 100,000 people were living in Australia in 2016 on 457 visas, almost half from China, the United Kingdom or India.

The new system would be "manifestly, rigorously, resolutely" conducted in the national interest to put Australian jobs first, Mr Turnbull said.

Inspired by Trump, Prime Minister Turnbull has also pitched for "Australians First" and said Australian jobs should be for Australians.

"We're putting jobs first, we're putting Australians first", he said. The government said the visas will be restricted to filling critical skills shortages.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced an overhaul of Australia's foreign worker system. Over 95,000 foreign workers are now working in Australia on the 457 visa.

The scheme has become a political hot potato, as public criticism that foreign workers are being chosen over Australians mounts.

Immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said the list of eligible jobs would be "even tighter" for the four-year visa.

A list of 650 occupations that now qualify for a temporary visa will be cut by 200 and applicants must have previous work experience.

A second visa class, focused on strategic, long-term skills gaps will have a four-year limit and require a higher standard of English than the two-year visa.

This is a significant development, as 457 work visa was one of the most popular visas used by Australian companies to bring foreign workers, from all fields.

The Australian government, however, assured expats that the 95 000 people already in Australia on 457 visas will not now be affected by the change.