JOBS FOR AUSSIES: Malcolm Turnbull believes abolishing the 457 visa program will benefit the nation.
JOBS FOR AUSSIES: Malcolm Turnbull believes abolishing the 457 visa program will benefit the nation. LUKAS COCH

Govt signals further crackdown on immigration

PETER Dutton has signalled the Turnbull government is looking at a further crackdown on immigration, while defending the decision to scrap 457 visas for foreign workers.

The immigration minister said yesterday the 457 visa "brand” had been "tarnished beyond all repair” by the former Labor government allowing so many foreign workers entry into Australia.

Two new visas with tougher entry requirements and measures to force Australian employers to advertise for local workers first would end the "rorting and rackets” that flourished under Labor, Mr Dutton said.

But the minister signalled tougher measures would be announced in coming months as reports emerged the government was considering a new visa classification of "provisional migrant”.

"There is a sound argument in my mind that people need to demonstrate that if they're coming to Australia they need to abide by Australian laws, they need to abide by Australian values and they need to integrate into the Australian community,” Mr Dutton told Sky News.

"I think that there are measures that need to be taken before people take out Australian citizenship.

"We need to make sure that we have the right people coming to our country. We are a great nation built on migration and 99% do the right thing, but for the 1% that would seek to do us harm, we do need to face that modern reality.”

The Daily Telegraph reports the government is working on a plan to replace the Howard government citizenship test with a more contemporary test that examines whether migrants have integrated into the Australian way of life and adopted its social values.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also defended his decision to scrap the 457 visa, while revealing businesses would have to pay to bring in foreign workers

The tax would go to a training fund for Australian workers.

Speaking at a breakfast for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Canberra yesterday, Mr Turnbull also revealed more changes to conditions for migrants applying for permanent residency.

The maximum age for foreign workers able to apply for permanent residency under employment-sponsored visas will be dropped from age 50 to 45 and migrants would have to wait three years instead of two to apply.

While the Indian Government indicated on Tuesday night the visa changes might threaten negotiations for a trade deal, Mr Turnbull talked up the importance of jobs going to Australian workers first.

In a statement, India's Ministry of External Affairs said it would examine the consequences of Australia's visa changes in the context of the ongoing trade negotiations.

Skilled migrants from India make up about a quarter of 457 visa holders.

As at September 30, 2016, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on 457 visas.

Under the government's plan, the 457 visa will be replaced initially by a new temporary two-year visa designed to recruit the "best and the brightest”.

A list of 650 occupation classifications that qualify for a temporary visa will be cut by 200 and the new visas will require applicants to have work experience.

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