Australia scraps visa for skilled foreign workers

Reacting to Australia's announcement of abolishing its visa policy for foreign workers, the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said it will look into the matter and examine the consequences of the abolition of the visa programme called 457. It also said that current 457 visa holders will not be affected by the changes. "We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians", PM Turnbull said. According to an estimate, some 95,000 foreign workers are employed in Australia under this visa program.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to review a temporary visa programme used to place foreign workers in high-skilled US jobs.

"If we're serious about getting Australians into skilled jobs, we must also revitalise our neglected vocational education and training system which has been treated like the poor cousin of the universities". "But the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs".

Australia is known for its hard-line immigration policies and tough treatment of illegal immigrants.

Turnbull told the ABC on Wednesday: "I recognise there are a lot of people who will try to criticise this on political grounds, and I've heard a bit of that on the ABC already this morning, trying to treat this as a political issue, this is not about politics", he said.

The annual intake of temporary workers is at a four-year low of 96,000, well down from the 126,300 high when Labor was in power.

"Our reforms will have a simple focus; Australian jobs and Australian values", Prime Minister Turnbull added.

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It will now be replaced by two temporary visas - one for two-year stays and another for four-year stays.

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

But Dutton said he was happy to work with business, and questioned what Atlassian was doing in the local market.

Now, the list has been drastically trimmed down and foreign workers will have to meet stricter guidelines to be eligible to work in Australia under a new version of the visa. "Are they employing mature aged workers who have found themselves out of a job elsewhere?" he said on the Nine Network.

Mr Turnbull rejected comparisons between his announcement and a move by USA president Donald Trump to tighten foreign worker visas in a "buy American and hire American" executive order.

At a press conference in Canberra, Turnbull said the 457 Visa system needed to be replaced because it had "lost its credibility".

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