The Australian defence industry is up in arms over the federal government's changes to the temporary skilled worker 457 visa regime.
The government is scrapping the visa program and replacing it with new two-year and four-year visas.
The list of 650 occupation classifications that qualify for a temporary visa will be reduced by 200.
Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Vince Di Pietro says his company has 93 US expats in Australia, on various visa types including 457.
Mr Di Pietro says the presence of some foreign defence industry staff is essential in order to help build sovereign capacity in Australia.
He says the cost of getting waivers will translate downstream.