Australia abolishes visa programme used largely by Indians

Loading Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope

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Australia's mining industry does not oppose the Turnbull government's decision to scrap the 457 visa program but wants to be able to easily bring in temporary foreign workers when needed, given its reliance on them during the resources boom.

The Australian government is abolishing 457 visas for skilled migrants and replacing it with a tighter programme.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took to Facebook to reveal the changes, announcing that a new short-term migration scheme would replace 457 visas by March 2018.

The new visa would "better target genuine skills shortages" and would include new requirements such as previous work experience, better English-language proficiency, a criminal record check, and labour market testing.

This news has come as blow to Irish people, as thousands have availed, and hoped to avail of the 457 visa in future. The roughly 100,000 holders of 457 visas now in Australia would not be affected.

The Prime Minister also announced plans for a new training fund to fill local skills gaps.

Both sides of politics have promised to tighten the rules around the issuing of 457 visas in recent years and adopted more nationalist postures about the need to protect Australian jobs. It will not lead to permanent residency. Australia and India also signed six pacts, including counter-terrorism an economic cooperation.

"Hear it here first - we're putting jobs first and we're putting Australians first by abolishing 457 visas".

According to the department, there were 7530 visa holders working in the ICT industry by the end of 2016, making it the largest industry covered under the scheme.

"It's not that the Australian government will discourage foreign workers completely, but the focus will be on giving priority to Australians and put check to employers who hire unskilled foreign workforce cheaply". "We are the most successful multicultural nation in the world".

The announcement is a setback for skilled Indian workers who are employed in large numbers in Australia.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton listens on during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, April 18, 2017.

As per Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, 457 work visas have been very useful to invite experienced professionals into Australia, which in turn trained local talent.

Pauline Hanson claimed her political party One Nation is responsible for the move by Turnbull.

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