Australia to raise English language standard for citizenship

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Indian techies working in Australia would not be affected by its government's move on visas granted to them under a specific category, said the Indian IT industry's representative body Nasscom on Wednesday. The majority of the visa holders under this category were from India, accounting nearly a quarter of the intake.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Wednesday said the 457 changes were "already unravelling", pointing to an analysis by the ALP that showed just 8.6 per cent of people now on foreign worker visas were working in jobs that would be excluded under the new visa system.

This visa programme offers temporary employment opportunity to foreign workers to work in skilled labour requisite sectors for a period of maximum four years.

"I reckon if we went out today and said to Australians, 'Do you think you could become an Australian citizen without being able to speak English?'". The current 4-year work visa program, 457 visa program [materials], which allows workers from overseas to live in Australia with their immediate family, will be abolished [BBC report] and will be replaced by two temporary visas that carry additional obstacles.

"Congratulations for being totally out of touch with the challenges small operators are having with finding Australian workers", one wrote on Facebook in response Mr Turnbull's announcement.

In a major overhaul of the citizenship law, the Australian government has announced migrants seeking Australian citizenship will have to embrace Australian values and meet the English language requirements.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

The two-step push underscores the Turnbull government's shift to the right on immigration and border protection, which has been driven in part by Mr Dutton and other leading conservatives.

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Employers who hire foreign workers will have to contribute to a new training fund to support apprenticeships and traineeships.

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

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson took to Twitter April 18 to claim credit for Turnbull's decision.

The requirements would apply to all new applications for citizenship, the government said.

There's now no limit on how many times someone can fail the test, but a new limit of three fails will also be introduced. "This is also a matter we will be looking at in the context of CECA negotiations", External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said in response to a query.

He signed the so-called Buy America, Hire America order on a visit to a tool factory in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, though it falls far short of his campaign pledge to end the H-1B visa programme. "The changes announced by the government of Australia recently replace one scheme with another".

"Insofar as H1-B visas are concerned, the cap has remained at 65,000 since December 2004 when the H1-B Visa Reform Act of 2004 was enacted by the U.S. Congress", he said.

Employers who flout tougher labour market tests before hiring foreign workers will be banned from the new system.

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