Australia’s PM tightens policy on work visas

World Today

It’s about putting “Australian workers first.” That’s what Australia’s Prime Minister said, as he ordered a change in policies for working visas to make sure locals are hired more.

But critics said the move will hurt many employers and industries, which rely on skilled workers from other countries.

CGTN’s Greg Navarro reports from Sydney.

Australia's PM tightens policy on work visas

Australia's PM tightens policy on work visas

It’s about putting “Australian workers first.” That’s what Australia’s Prime Minister said, as he ordered a change in policies for working visas to make sure locals are hired more. But critics said the move will hurt many employers and industries, which rely on skilled workers from other countries. CGTN’s Greg Navarro reports from Sydney.
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Earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he was scrapping the 457 program.

“It will be replaced by a new system that will be manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest to put Australians and Australian jobs first,” Prime Minister Turnbull said. “That’s our commitment: Australian jobs, Australian values.”

A day later, Turnbull announced sweeping changes to the nation’s citizenship laws, saying new arrivals must share Australian values, and declare their commitment to the nation.

The 457 visa was created in the 1990s to cope with a sudden increase in demand for skills and international competition.

Last year, there were about 95,000 people in Australia on temporary work visas. This included more than 3,000 people from China. They’ve helped fill jobs in the hospitality industry, medical fields, and at universities.

But critics have long contended that there were no safeguard to protect overseas workers, and ensure employers looked toward hiring in Australia first.

Turnbull has denied the moves to strengthen immigration are designed to appeal to the conservative wing of his party.

Professor Jock Collins of the University of Technology Sydney said Australia’s latest stance is part of a rising populist movement currently gaining support in other countries.

He adds that restricting skilled migrant worker visas could have consequences.

“There are a lot of international academics who come with a PhD who may not have the work experience so where they’ve been able to come and take jobs in international research centers,” said Professor Collins.