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Australia scraps visa for skilled foreign workers

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia will scrap a temporary visa for skilled overseas workers, the prime minister said Tuesday, arguing that Australians must be given priority over foreigners for local jobs.

The popular 457 visa, which allows foreigners to live and work in Australia for up to four years, will be replaced with a stricter scheme that requires a criminal background check and includes tougher English language requirements, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. The list of occupations that qualify for the new visa will be sharply reduced.

In this Aug. 10, 2016 photo, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media from the government offices in Sydney. Turnbull said Tuesday, April 18, 2017, that the country will scrap a temporary visa for skilled foreign workers, arguing that Australians must be given priority for Australian jobs. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)In this Aug. 10, 2016 photo, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media from the government offices in Sydney. Turnbull said Tuesday, April 18, 2017, that the country will scrap a temporary visa for skilled foreign workers, arguing that Australians must be given priority for Australian jobs. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

“We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains: Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,” Turnbull said in a Facebook video announcing the change.

 The decision by Australia comes one day before President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will make changes to a visa program that brings high-skilled workers to the U.S. The White House said the current visa program undercuts American workers by bringing in cheaper labor.

The Associated Press
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