By Robert Williams
India’s Prime Minister has voiced his reservations to the Australian PM about the Government’s recent decision to phase out and replace the 457 visa next year.
India was perturbed by the Federal Govt’s announcement last month that the popular 457 visa would be stopped in 2018 and replaced and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa which will assist businesses in addressing bona fide skill shortages.
The TSS Visa is a four year visa is your occupation is on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL) or two years is your occupation isn't on the MLTSSL
The Australian PM described the changes as being “in the national interest”.
At present, Indian nationals make up a quarter of 457 visa holders - the most of any nationality.
India had hinted the move to replace it could affect trade negotiations, which the two countries had only just pledged to revive during Mr Turnbull’s recent India visit in early April.
Now, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Modi himself has “expressed concern” to Mr Turnbull about the possible impact of visa changes.
In response to the announced Visa changes, India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a terse statement, saying that it was “examining the consequences” of the new policy, adding that it would look at the matter “in the context” of trade negotiations.
Elsewhere, Anisha Gupta, an Indian migration has suggested that Visa changes will damage Australia’s longer-term ability to attract both skilled workers and students with an eye to their futures.
“I’m receiving a lot of calls from the applicants, as well as the people who have already applied for the visa — how will that affect them?” she said.
(Current visa holders will not be affected by the changes, which will see the introduction of two new temporary skills visas — a two-year visa and a more specialised one for four years “targeted at higher skills”.)
Ms Gupta warns changing the visa system will likely hurt Australian universities’ efforts to attract Indian students, especially those seeking degrees in the 200 professions the Government is removing from the list of those eligible for skilled worker visas.
That would affect the students if they think their occupations are out of the list, so they might choose another country which has a more favourable immigration policy for them,” she said.