Australia follows US over India-leaning visa programme

Melbourne: Australia will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.

The programme, known as 457 visa, allows businesses to employ foreign workers for a period of up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers. "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," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The majority of the visa holders under this category were from India, accounting almost a quarter of the intake. "We will no longer allow 457 visa to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians," he said.

India examining consequences: MEA

New Delhi: India is examining "consequences" of Australia’s decision to abolish the 457 visa programme, and said the issue will also be looked at in the context of free trade talks. "This is also a matter we will be looking at in the context of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations," said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay.



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