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World Australia toughens foreign worker visas, says Australian jobs for Australians

09:36  18 april  2017
09:36  18 april  2017 Source:   reuters.com

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Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton listens on during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia © REUTERS Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton listens on during a media conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia

Australia will abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a visa requiring better English-language and work skills, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.

Turnbull rejected suggestions the visa policy change was in response to far-right wing political parties, such as One Nation, demanding more nationalistic policies.

But in a Facebook announcement Turnbull said: "Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values."

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Turnbull said the visa change would attract better skilled workers and see Australians employed over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa program.

"We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains- Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs," he said. "We'll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians."

The 457 visa was designed to fill Australia's skills shortage and allow holders to bring members of their family to Australia on 457 secondary visa.

But the 457 visa has been mired in controversy with allegations the program was being misused by employers to import workers on the cheap, not to fill genuine skill shortage.

"We are bringing the 457 visa class to an end. It's lost its credibility," Turnbull said at a press conference in Canberra.

Anyone now in Australia on a 457 visa will not be affected by the new arrangements.

The 457 visa, now used by about 95,000 foreign workers, will be replaced by a new temporary visa and the list of occupations that qualify for a visa will be reduced from more than 200.

The new visa will be limited to a two-year period and a second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language.

From 1901 to around 1973, Australia restricted non-white immigration under a White Australia policy which required an English language test.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders, many braving heavy rain, turned out Tuesday to mark the Gallipoli landing and to pay tribute to soldiers in current conflict zones in moving ceremonies. Ceremonies are held annually on the April 25 anniversary of the ill-fated 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in modern-day Turkey during World War I, known as Anzac Day.More than 10,000 New Zealand and Australian servicemen died in the failed eight-month campaign, and Gallipoli became a defining symbol of courage and comradeship for the two countries.

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