Finance

Australia toughens foreign worker visas

Australia toughens foreign worker visas

As of September 30, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visa programme, ABC reported.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the temporary visas for foreign workers would be replaced by a new class of visa, better targeted to ensure that foreign workers were only brought in to fill genuine skills shortages.

Echoing John Howard over asylum-seekers, Mr Turnbull said Australians expect that "their government alone determines ... who comes here and the terms on which they come and how long they stay". The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his "America First" election campaign pledges.

"We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we are abolishing the 457 visa, the visa that brings temporary foreign workers into our country".

"We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first", he said.

The 457 visa was introduced in the 1990s to expedite the entry of business professionals and highly skilled migrants but over time it was opened up to include a broad suite of workers.

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However, if Australia were to experience a new mining boom that sparked shortages and demand for skills in trades needed to build projects, it's important employers have access to the right workforces, said Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison.

Victoria's Labor premier has welcomed the 457 visa changes, despite his federal Labor colleagues taking a more cautious approach. "It's lost its credibility". It recommended giving all 457 holders a tax file number and setting up a training scheme for local workers.

"The 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa specifically created to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest".

The new visa will be limited to a two-year period and a second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language. During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Turnbull undertook a ride aboard the Delhi Metro and visited the famous Akshardham Temple in the national capital.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents more than 60,000 businesses, said the changes would improve the integrity of Australia's visa programme.


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