Aussie PM ‘Puts Australia First,’ Restricts Immigration

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced plans Tuesday to replace visas for temporary foreign workers in order to put “Australians first.”

The so-called 457 visa will be replaced by two new temporary skills visas that require more work experience and greater English skills. The change will not affect the 95,000 people who currently hold a 457 visa.

“We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” Turnbull said in a statement. “We’re putting jobs first, and we’re putting Australians first.”

Turnbull called Australia “the most successful multicultural nation in the world” but said it was time to focus on skilled workers and promote the hiring of Australians over cheap foreign labor.

“We are an immigration nation,” Turnbull said. “But the fact remains, Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs.”

Turnbull’s announcement coincides with U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to limit the number of H1-B visas in the U.S. (RELATED: Donald Trump’s Latest Executive Order Aims To Make Companies ‘Hire American’)

“That rhetoric is very consistent with the rhetoric from Donald Trump around protecting American jobs and also from Theresa May’s government in the United Kingdom post-‘Brexit,’ ensuring that U.K. workers get first access to jobs,” Joanna Howe, an associate professor of law at the University of Adelaide, told The New York Times.

Australia is known for its hard-line immigration policies and tough treatment of illegal immigrants. (RELATED: The Islands Australia Is Sending Its Refugees From Are Plagued By Scandals)

The government struck a deal in December with then-President Barack Obama to send 1,250 unwanted refugees to the U.S. Trump called it “the worst deal ever” in a phone call with Turnbull shortly after assuming office.

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