The Australian government’s move to eliminate the 457 visa category would not have a major impact on visas granted to Indian IT workers, industry body Nasscom said today. “… it is a surprise and seems to be have been driven by domestic political compulsions where we are seeing immigration as a matter of huge political concern within the current geo political environment,” Nasscom said in a statement.
Australia has abolished a visa programme — 457 visa — used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.
The programme will be replaced by another visa programme with new restrictions. The programme allowed business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
Nasscom said it will work closely with the governments of India and Australia to understand more details on the changes and ensure these changes can be implemented seamlessly to ensure business continuity for Australian customers.
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“Our initial assessment is that the move should not have a major impact on visas granted to Indian IT workers as the 457 visa category covered a lot of fields and was difficult to manage,” Nasscom said. The new programme could bring in longer lead times and paperwork.
“… we see this change as something that is evolutionary and a policy change on behalf of the Australian government,” Nasscom said. Indian IT firms like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are dependent on visa programmes to send employees to customer sites.
With rising protectionism across markets like the US, Singapore and now Australia, companies are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce dependence on visas, hiring more locals instead.