Just days after Australian Prime Minister Marcolm Turnbull returned home from his visit to India, the Australian government has passed a decision to abolish 457 visa programme that allowed foreign temporary workers to work in Australia.
This visa programme offers temporary employment opportunity to foreign workers to work in skilled labour requisite sectors for a period of maximum four years. In the last year, 95,758 foreign workers were employed in Australia through the 457 visa programme. It includes 24.6 percent workers from India, ranked at top, followed by UK and China with 19.5% and 5.8% respectively.
The old visa programme will now be replaced with two new schemes that will put restrictions and make the laws stringent than earlier. The clauses in the new visa programmes include a deeper English language testing with stringent labour tests and an additional work experience. The existing visa programme for foreign workers includes 651 occupations out of which some 200 occupations are to be scrapped into new programme. However, the current beneficiaries of this programme will be exempted from the new regulations.
Speaking on the scrapping of the controversial visa programme, Turnbull says that Australia has been an immigration nation, but that doesn’t take away the right that the Australians have on the local jobs as citizens. This decision has been taken keeping in mind the priority that the citizens must get over foreign workers. He also adds that they are well aware about the skill set and the labour that companies require to foster, and hence they have designed the new scheme working best in the national interest.
The government has assured that the companies who have majority of foreign workers under 457 visa programmes need not worry because the new scheme will ensure that company continue to get the requisite skilled labour. This visa programme was introduced in 1996 under the government of the then Prime Minister John Howard.