Australia junks work visa programme used largely by Indians
Canberra: Australia has abolished its popular employer-sponsored 457 visa programme, widely used by Indians, replacing it with new stringent programme that requires higher English-language proficiency and job skills.
The 457 visa programme, used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, was replaced on March 18 by a new Temporary Skills Shortage visa programme.
The 457 visa programme allowed businesses to employ foreign workers for a period of up to four years in skilled jobs where there was a shortage of Australian workers.
The visa allowed people to live in Australia with their immediate family. It was designed to fill gaps in skilled labour but it had been criticised as being too accessible.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in April last year had announced that Australia will adopt a new ‘Australians first’ approach to skilled migration.
The new visa programme comprise two streams – Short Term for two years and Medium Term for four years. Medium term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages.
More stringent requirements for the new visas, including at least 2 years of work experience, better English language proficiency and a criminal check are also a part of new programme.