Just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flaunted his friendship with the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the latter has dealt a severe blow to the interests of thousands of Indian immigrants working in Australia.
Turnbull, in an unexpected move, has announced that he was replacing his government’s popular 457 visa that allows businesses in Australia to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
The new measure will effectively abolish the visa, used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, mostly Indians.
Only a week ago, PM Modi took Turnbull on an excursion of Delhi by first personally accompanying him on a metro ride before paying a visit to Akshardham temple. The two leaders had also clicked many selfies together.
While in the metro, the two leaders travelled from Mandi House to Akshardham station, a distance of about 6.7 kms which takes around 15 minutes.
At times standing, and at times sitting, the two leaders clicked selfies during the journey.
“With @narendramodi on the Delhi Metro Blue Line – 212 kms & 159 stations since 2002,” tweeted the Australian Prime Minister while travelling.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) April 10, 2017
“On board the Delhi Metro with PM @TurnbullMalcolm. We are heading to the Akshardham Temple,” Modi tweeted with a picture where Turnbull is seen taking a selfie with him. Prior to their journey, the two leaders held wide-ranging talks here.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 10, 2017
Modi’s fans on social media had hailed the prime minister’s decision to personally accompany his Australian counterpart around Delhi.
It's great of PM Modi to take Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull to Akshardham & perform all these rituals..show him our culture,tradition. Mast pic.twitter.com/9TlQAQilp2
— Paresh Rawal fan (@Babu_Bhaiyaa) April 10, 2017
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) April 10, 2017
Reacting to the news, the Modi government said that it was India is examining “consequences” of Australia’s decision to abolish a popular work visa and added that the issue will also be looked at in the context of free trade talks.
“The government is examining consequences of the new policy in consultation with all stakeholders. This is also a matter we will be looking at in the context of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said today.
Announcing his government’s decision to abolish 457 visa, Australian Prime Minister Melcolm Turnbull said though his country was an immigration nation, the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs.
The majority of the visa holders under the 457 category were from India, accounting almost a quarter of the intake, followed by the UK and China at 19.5 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.