Australia toughens foreign worker visas, says Australian jobs for Australians

Labour leader Andrew Little said Auckland was facing excessive strain from record immigration levels

JASON DORDAY FAIRFAX NZ Labour leader Andrew Little said Auckland was facing excessive strain from record immigration levels

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced the Coalition is abolishing the 457 visa system, which will be replaced with two new classes of visa.

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.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to review a temporary visa programme used to place foreign workers in high-skilled US jobs.

In a "major announcement" on Facebook, Malcolm Turnbull said: "We're putting jobs first; we're putting Australians first".

It facilitates foreign workers to get jobs in Australia and the visa holders can bring their family members to Australia on 457 secondary visa. At the time, Dutton said the government would be abolishing fast-track arrangements which were allowing skilled migrants to work in fast food restaurants.

The news has been met with a mixed response on social media, with many quickly pointing out that Turnbull previously criticised former Prime Minister Julia Gillard efforts to reform the system.

Reports state that the new visa for foreign workers will be available for two or four years, and will require all the visa holders to have at least two years' of work experience, a criminal record check and better English-language proficiency.

The changes were made to ensure that the program met the skills needed in Australia and increase the quality and economic distribution of skilled migrants.

But the number of applicants for the H-1B visa fell to 199,000 this year, down from 236,000 in 2016, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Employers who hire foreign workers will have to contribute to a new training fund to support apprenticeships and traineeships.

"The high and increasing numbers of IT professionals are being granted 457 visas".

Both sides of politics have promised to tighten the rules around the issuing of 457 visas in recent years and adopted more nationalist postures about the need to protect Australian jobs.

He says there are still jobs Australians don't want to do, "whether it is packing offal in an abattoir or boning out skulls".

Mr Turnbull plans to limit the number occupations to which the visas apply, which have typically covered jobs in cafes and restaurants as well as the mining, construction and farming sectors.

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