Australia abolishes popular work visa: MEA says India is examining consequences


The government is scrapping the 457 visa program for temporary foreign workers and replacing it with new two-year and four-year visas.

While the Indian Government indicated on Tuesday night the visa changes might threaten negotiations for a trade deal, Mr Turnbull talked up the importance of jobs going to Australian workers first. This comes on the heels of the U.S. announcing its own visa reforms that will affect the Indian IT industry, and new visa restrictions in the United Kingdom that will impact Indians.

Members of Australia's far-right political parties, particularly the anti-immigration One Nation party, were fierce critics of the 457 visa, arguing that it was allowing foreign workers to steal jobs from Australians. "We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians". About 20 per cent, or 34,000 British citizens and their families, are in Australia on the visas, which last up to four years. The country is concerned with the role the visa holders are actually fulfilling, compared [ABC report] with the role they applied for.

Independent anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson took credit for the announcement, which drew comparisons to moves by US President Donald Trump to tighten skilled-worker visa rules on Tuesday.

Dutton said there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas and 76,430 secondary visa holders as at September 30 past year.

As per the records, in September 2016, there were 95,757 people in Australia who were employed there using 547 visa.

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The 457 programme will be replaced by a new temporary skill shortage work visa by March 2018.

The visa was abolished by the federal government in a move to "put Australians first".

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

Critics say employers have abused the visa to bring in foreign workers who are willing to accept lower wages than Australians. Researchers at the Australian National University found that as much as 89% of the Indians who had traveled on the 457 program meant to apply for permanent residency.

The new two-year visa won't be a pathway to permanent residency, but anyone now in Australia on a 457 visa won't be affected by the new arrangements.

The new visas will require at least two years of previous work experience, better English language ability, stricter labor-market testing and a criminal background check.