Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Thousands of Britons to be hit by Australian visa clampdown


Malcolm Turnbull's citizenship crackdown, to be announced on Thursday, comes just two days after the prime minister outlined an overhaul of the 457 temporary foreign worker visa system.

More than 200 jobs will be removed from an existing list of about 650 eligible professions.

Companies will also be barred from employing foreign workers in particular roles, including as butchers.

The Australian Government on Tuesday said it will safeguard Australian jobs by abolishing the Subclass 457 Visa for foreign workers and creating a new temporary visa restricted to critical skills shortages.

The abolition of the 457 visas for skilled migrants not only risks affecting trade relations between India and Australia, it could also affect the number of Indian students studying at Australian universities.

Other changes include a new three-year limit for workers with lower skills, the report said.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said restructuring the program would make it more sustainable and provided a chance to hit the "reset button" on temporary skilled migration.

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The UK and China account for 19.5% and 5.8%, respectively, of the foreign worker labor market in Australia.

The 457 visa was being used by foreigners who met the now-defunct Skilled Occupations List (SOL) to work and live in Australia, with an option for full Residency at the end.

"We are putting jobs first, we are putting Australians first", said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Of course, people can lie on the test, including about whether they have a criminal record, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton thinks that's irrelevant.

The nuts and bolts of the policy behind the announcement have not yet been made public, but One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has already claimed credit for the changes. They will probably be welcomed by the conservative base of the Coalition and nationalist parties such as One Nation, but some sections of Australia's migrant communities could feel targeted.

"This only works to promote employment of Australians, which should be our priority, if you put a big investment into skills and training and this government has taken billions out of skills and training". Last year, the government had said it will cut down on the occupations outsiders can apply for under the visa.

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.

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