‘New Australian visa regime not to hit Indian IT sector’

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

Australia’s High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu says Indians will continue to come under categories other than IT

Australia lacks skilled professionals in IT sector, says Envoy

India is not likely to be significantly affected by the recent changes in Australia’s visa programme for skilled professionals as most of the visas issued to Indians are in the IT sector where the country lacks skills, said Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s High Commissioner to India.

“Every country wants to employ their own people first before they employ people from outside. This is what the changes (in the visa regime) have sought to do. But it is also a fact that many of the Indian visa holders are in the IT industry where the skilled in Australia are in very short supply. I would expect that people would continue to come in that area,” Sidhu said speaking at an interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently discussed India’s concerns on the tightening of the Australian visa regime with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull over a telephonic conversation.

Sidhu clarified that the decision to abolish the 457 visa programme, which allowed businesses in Australia to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs, was taken to ensure that Australian workers did not get displaced.

“We constantly review our visa regime to make sure we protect the integrity in every visa class. It is not targeted at any country,” she said.

The Australian High Commissioner added that there were several other categories of visas that were unaffected including the category for skilled migrants. “Indians would continue to come to Australia under the other categories,” she said.

She also pointed out that India and Australia already had strong bilateral relations which saw a steady rise from 2009 and was given a fresh momentum by the Australian PM’s recent visit to the country.

“Australia wants to carry out an economic study on India. It would focus on how Australia can cooperate with India by moving together on its growth trajectory,” Sidhu said.

Trade team coming

A trade delegation will visit India soon to hold an Australian business week in the country to strengthen trade and economic relationship.

The two PMs, in their recent meeting in New Delhi, also talked about working systematically to move the free trade agreement talks ahead.

“We are at the complex end. The easy part is done. Australian officials will visit India in the coming weeks to move talks forward,” Sidhu said.

Uranium sale soon

On the possible sale of uranium to India, the High Commissioner said that with the civil nuclear agreement in place, commercial relations were moving ahead. “We hope it will lead to sale of uranium to India soon,” she said.

Strong partnerships were also being built in the areas of education, sports and maritime security, especially of the trade route through the Indian Ocean, she added.

“We constantly review our visa regime to make sure we protect the integrity in every visa class. It is not targeted at any country.”

Published on May 09, 2017

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