Shorten says axing 457 visa a 'con-job'

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media from the government offices in Sydney. Turnbull said Tuesday

The Malcolm Turnbull government had announced that Australia would replace the popular 457 visa category with two separate merit-based professional visa programmes.

PM Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton made the announcement on Tuesday.

The new program will offer a two-year visa with a broader list of occupations, and a four-year visa with stricter requirements and a smaller job pool.

"The changes announced by the Government of Australia recently replace one scheme with another".

An extended four-year visa will be limited to 183 occupations, with tighter eligibility rules, including a higher standard of English and criminal checks.

The Turnbull government is tightening the requirements for Australian citizenship, with applicants to face a stand-alone English test and asked to commit to embracing Australian values.

He said employers must demonstrate they have tested the local jobs market properly before they apply for foreign workers under his new scheme.

Liberal-turned-crossbencher senator Cory Bernardi has also claimed credit for the changes, but Mr Turnbull said it was a "decision of the Government".

"We welcome the Prime Minister's move to protect Australian jobs through a more streamlined and rigorous visa process", said TAA chair Martin Ferguson.

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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.

The ministry also added that it's in touch with Australia as well regarding the changes in that country's work visa programme.

Hairdressers aren't at risk of being removed from the list of jobs that skilled migrants can take, but plenty of positions that employers reckon they just can't get Aussies to fill are.

The new visa will be subject to work experience and English language tests for workers, and labour market testing to prove jobs cannot be filled locally.

There's now no limit on how many times someone can fail the test, but a new limit of three fails will also be introduced.

"You really struggle for staff and it's very hard", he said.

More than 17.5 per cent, or 24,236 were from India followed by Britain, with 20,583 and the Philippines, with 8996.

He signed the so-called Buy America, Hire America order on a visit to a tool factory in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, though it falls far short of his campaign pledge to end the H-1B visa programme.

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