Australia scraps visa program for foreign workers, popular with Indian graduates

New Delhi April 19: In view of the increasing unemployment in the country, the Australian government banned the visa program known as 457 which allowed Australian companies to employ skilled foreign workers for a maximum period of four years. According to an estimate, some 95,000 foreign workers are employed in Australia under this visa program.
Inspired by Trump, Prime Minister Turnbull has also pitched for ‘Australians First' and said Australian jobs should be for Australians.
"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.
We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians," PM Turnbull said.
The announcement is a setback for skilled Indian workers who are employed in large numbers in Australia.
"The high and increasing numbers of IT professionals are being granted 457 visas. They constitute by far the largest occupational group within the 457 program. Most are Indian nationals, who are sponsored by Indian IT service companies," said a report of the Australian Population Research Institute.
In fact, the abolition of 457 visa program came when Prime Minister Turnbull visited India last week and both the countries signed several agreements to boost bilateral relations. But the abolition of visas under 457 is likely to impact relations between India and Australia.
"(The) Government is examining consequences of the new policy in consultation with all stakeholders. This is also a matter we will be looking at in the context of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement negotiations," said Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay on Tuesday.
Until 2009, Australia was an education destination as well for Indian students. But after increasing attacks on Indian students, including the death of a victim, the number of students leaving India for Australia fell sharply. Australia has steadfastly refuted claims that the attacks were of a racial nature.