CHENNAI: The new visa regime that Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday will replace the existing 457 visa regime, that has come in for extended criticism after reports late last year in Australian media highlighted the influx of cheap Indian IT workers into the country.
The Australian Population Research Institute, which conducted a study into the phenomenon, had pointed out that the average Australian salary for full-time non-managerial employees in professional level IT occupations in 2014 was around $100,000.
“For the 5,722 of the total 7,329 who were Indian nationals in these two occupations in 2014-15, the salary level was very low. Some 61.4 per cent had a nominated base salary below $70,180 — some $30,000 below average IT professionals’ salaries,” it said.
It added that Australian consulting firms had to compete with multinational corporations like IBM and Accenture in tendering for IT business but “for over a decade they have had to cope with a new competitor. This is the Indian IT service companies”.
“(They) have been very successful in winning IT consulting work in the design and implementation of new IT software systems for Australian businesses and governments. One of the reasons for this success is that they import their own staff on temporary visas to do much of the work,” the report pointed out.
Turnbull also touched upon the influx of cheap labour in his announcement while adding that the new visa regime that replaces the 457 programme will no longer be allowed to be the passport to jobs that could and should go to Australians.
Commenting on the move, the Ministry of External Affairs said it is examining the “consequences” of Australia’s decision to abolish the visa, stating 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.