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India suggests trade negotiations could be affected by 457 visa changes

Posted in: Migration Issues by Rob on 03/05/2017


India’s Prime Minister has used a telephone call with the Australian PM to voice his reservations about the Government’s decision to abolish the 457 visa next year.

India was upset by the Government’s announcement last month that it was replacing the 457 visa for temporary skilled workers with two new visas.

In its place will be a two-year visa and a more specialised one for four years “targeted at higher skills”.

Mr Turnbull said the changes were “in the national interest”.

Indian nationals account for 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.

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 Government’s 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, one Indian migration agent is warning the changes will harm Australia’s longer-term ability to attract both skilled workers and students with an eye to their futures.

Anisha Gupta is a migration agent, and yesterday her phone ran hot.

“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.

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