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What do the 457 Visa changes mean for the Australian IT sector?

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The move by the Australian government to abolish the 457 visa for foreign workers would not have much impact on visas provided to Indian IT workers, said industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday said that that employers who sought visas for 2018 submitted only 199,000 applications this year, compared last year's 236,000 applications.

On Tuesday, hammering his "America First" campaign theme, Trump signed an order tasking the department heads of State, Justice, Homeland Security and Labor to propose reforms in order to ensure H-1B visas are given to the "most-skilled or highest paid" petitioners. Every year, the U.S. grants 65,000 H-1B visas, while another 20,000 are set aside for those with USA advanced degrees.

Nasscom said it will work closely with the governments of India and Australia to understand more details on the changes and ensure these changes can be implemented seamlessly to ensure business continuity for Australian customers.

He said the IT industry apex organisations and the government need to work out a joint strategy to deal with the unfolding situation.

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Stressing that India-US relationship has bipartisan support in both the countries, the Finance Minister in his meeting with the commerce secretary said the two largest democratic countries of the world over the years have developed strong strategic, economic and defence relationship.

The Indian IT industry has expressed serious concerns over the United States government moving towards tightening the rules for grant of H-1B visa, mainly used by domestic IT professionals for short-term work. The President's executive order directs the federal bureaucracy to enforce visa law more vigorously, and to study new ways to reform and restrict the H-1B system. "Senior Australian officials have conveyed to us that the impact of the changes will be negligible on Indian workers, most of whom fall in high skill category", the MEA said in a statement. "We are essentially seeing that countries are trying to define skilled workers more precisely and bring curbs on immigration while opening the doors for high-skilled workers", Chandrashekhar pointed out. Indian IT companies get over 60 per cent of their revenues from the North American market, about 20 per cent from Europe and the remaining from the other economies.

He also pointed out "misperception" about the bulk of H-1B visa approvals going to Indian companies.

Meanwhile, the Indian government is in talks with the USA and Australian authorities on visa policies. This kind of discretionary use of measures to control movement of professional is "hurting them and us also".

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