Melbourne: To tackle the growing unemployment in the country, Australia on Tuesday abolished a visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians.
The programme known as 457 visa allows business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values.
The country will welcome only skilled workers and they can no longer allow 457 visas to be “passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians”, he added.
The 457 visa was designed to fill Australia’s skills shortage and allow holders to bring members of their family to Australia on 457 secondary visas. But the programme was allegedly being misused by employers to import inexpensive workers said Turnbull.
With the new temporary visa, the number of occupations on the list will also come down. The new visa will be available for two or four years, requiring visa holders to have two years’ work experience, a criminal record check, better English-language proficiency and mandatory labour market testing in a majority of cases.
Those who are currently in Australia on a 457 visa will not be affected by the new arrangement.