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Australia scraps visa programme used largely by Indians, to introduce stricter rules

As at September 30, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 Visa programme.
India TV News Desk Melbourne April 18, 2017 14:56 IST
India TV News Desk

To tackle the growing unemployment rate in the country, the Australian government has decided to abolish a popular visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians.

The programme, known as 457 Visa, allowed business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers. The majority of the visa holders were from India followed by the Britain and China.

“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,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. 

“We will no longer allow 457 Visa to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that a new programme with stricter visa requirements will be introduced with ‘Australians first’ approach.

“It is important businesses still get access to the skills they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa, specifically designed to recruit the best and brightest in the national interest,” Turnbull said.

As at September 30, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 Visa programme. 

Turnbull said that the new programme will ensure that foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps and not brought in because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian.

Turnbull’s announcement comes days after he visited India where a range of issues, including national security, counter terrorism, education and energy, were discussed and six agreements were signed.