Australia toughens foreign worker visas, says Australian jobs for Australians

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The Turnbull government has adopted a new "Australians First" approach to skilled migration, announcing it will abolish the controversial 457 visa program for temporary skilled migrants.

According to ABC Report as at September 30th, there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visa programme.

Australia on Tuesday announced changes to its employer-sponsored temporary skilled work visa programme created to ensure that the country meets its skills needs.

Western Australia alone made more than 16,000 applications for 457 visas in the year to June 2012, driven by demand for engineers, WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Deidre Willmott said.

The new visa will also have new requirements, including examining an applicant's previous work experience, their proficiency in the English language and labour market testing.

Instead of the 457 visas, a new temporary visa will be implemented which will be specifically created to "recruit the best and brightest" in their fields to target particular skill shortages in Australian industries.

Immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said the list of eligible jobs would be "even tighter" for the four-year visa.

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"Any plans to cut back on the tech industry's ability to bring in expertise from overseas before more Australians have been adequately trained in IT will only harm the industry and the future of jobs in this country", McEvoy said, referring to information-technology jobs.

The right-wing, anti-immigration One Nation party has been a vocal opponent of the 457 visa. But Turnbull has alleged that it was misused by employers to hire cheap labour.

Australia's Business Council has come out in support of new measures to reform how the country issues temporary work visas.

The statement clearly indicates that Australia wants jobs for their own people, and they don't want foreign workers in their country. Are they employing mature aged workers who have found themselves out of a job elsewhere?' he said on the Nine Network.

Turnbull said that under the new rules, Australians must be given the "first crack" at jobs, while skilled migrants would be brought in to "fill the gaps" in areas which are suffering a skills shortage. Many of these South Africans hold 457 visas.

'I'm skeptical that Mr Turnbull's crackdown is actually a con job and it will make no real difference, ' he told reporters on the NSW Central Coast.

Existing 457 visa will continue to remain in effect.