The states of Australia are opposing the federal government’s planned crackdown of the skilled migration program.
New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell has supported the 457 immigration visa scheme, saying that the scheme addresses specific skills shortages in the state.
Mr O’Farrell mentioned a number of foreigners who have added so much to the Australian landscape.
“NSW has been blessed with wonderful immigrants in all walks of life, such as Frank Lowy [Westfield founder], Gail Kelly [Westpac CEO] and Hazem El Masri [NRL legend],” Mr O’Farrell said.
“We don’t want to see a situation where people who can make significant social, cultural and economic contributions to NSW are shut out due to federal Labor’s desperate re-election efforts.”
The state’s health system is heavily reliant on foreign workers, the premier explained, as 2,800 457 visa holders are employed in the medical sector, including more than 1,000 doctors and over 1,600 nurses.
Julia Gillard will see a wrecking ball put through the public hospital system, Mr O’Farrell continued, as highly skilled migrants are propping up the sector.