Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Australia to introduce stricter visa requirements for skilled workers

Theresa Hayes | 20 April, 2017, 06:45

Australia on Tuesday abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

In its place, two new temporary visas will carry additional requirements and draw from a smaller list of eligible professions.

In a Facebook-first announcement, 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, The Australian daily reported. "We're putting jobs first".

Australia is set to introduce stricter visa requirements for skilled overseas workers in a move which could affect thousands of Britons.

Axing of the popular Australian 457 visa this week will have minimal impact on the Dubbo business community, says Dubbo Chamber president Matt Wright.

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

Turnbull, struggling with poor voter approval ratings, rejected suggestions the visa policy change was in response to far-right wing political parties, such as One Nation, demanding more nationalistic policies.

"Businesses naturally prefer to hire Australians wherever possible - it's easier, it's cheaper and it means workers come ready with valuable local knowledge and skills".

The prime minister's office said in a statement the new regulations include an obligation for employers sponsoring foreign skilled workers to provide training to Australians in high-need and skilled occupations.

Ms Templeman said scrapping 457 Visas would not necessarily lead to more Australians in work. He said the two-year visa would not produce a pathway to permanent residency.

The prior visa system was devised to fill gaps in the skilled labor market, but was criticized for its leniency and accessibility. Meanwhile, current 457 visa-holers would be unaffected. Turnbull added that the Australian government would introduce a new visa programme " created to recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest".

Those who are on the 457 visa in Australia now will not be affected by the new visa reforms.

"We think there needs to be a real tightening of the temporary work migration visa".