Modi expresses concern at Australia visa policy

Raises the issue during talk with Prime Minister Turnbull

May 02, 2017 09:57 pm | Updated 09:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

FILE PHOTO - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India, November 16, 2016. To match Analysis INDIA-MODI/CORRUPTION-BANKS. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

FILE PHOTO - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India, November 16, 2016. To match Analysis INDIA-MODI/CORRUPTION-BANKS. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

Australia’s newly introduced visa restrictions are likely to impact India. The issue of the visas came up when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

“Prime Minister Modi expressed concern about the possible impact of the recent changes in Australian regulations for the skilled professionals’ visa programme. The two Prime Ministers agreed that officials from both sides will remain in close touch on the issue,” said a government release.

457 policy

This was the first telephone conversation since Mr. Turnbull’s visit to Delhi in the first fortnight of April after which he announced the scrapping of the “457” visa policy that benefited skilled Indian IT workers.

As part of the new policy, the tenure of the visas was to be reduced from four to two years. The notification also announced an increase of visa fees.

Soon after the announcement, India had indicated that the move which came almost simultaneously with a similar step by the U.S. government on the H1B visas, would impact talks on a trade pact.

“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 CECA[Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement],” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said explaining the ambit of the possible impact of the new visa policy.

To keep in touch

However, on Tuesday, both Prime Ministers decided that they would be in touch through officials to discuss the emerging issues.

“The two Prime Ministers also discussed the follow-up action taken after the visit of Mr. Turnbull to India last month, and the steps required to further strengthen the bilateral relationship,” the government statement said.

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