Jobs in Australia

Industries voice concerns about abolition of 457 via stream in Australia

by Ray Clancy on June 8, 2017

in Australia Immigration, Jobs in Australia

Almost 60 industries have voiced concerns about the abolition of the 457 visa which allows overseas workers to be employed in Australia for up to four years and can also be a pathway to permanent residency.

It is being replaced next year by a two short term visas for up to two years and a medium stream visa stream visa programme for up to four years. The occupations list for the visa streams have already been changed.

(Luap Vision/Bigstock.com)

It means that over 200 occupations that are on the 457 skilled occupation list will not appear on either of the new temporary visa streams which take effect from March 2018. A series of caveats have also been introduced for certain occupations.

But representatives from science and technology, research industries, mining, retail and hospitality have been in touch with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton saying that some jobs cannot be filled by temporary workers.

They believe that it will be hard to attract the best talent for positions that they cannot fill from within Australia under the new proposed visa stream. They also point out that applications lodged for 457 visas before the changes were announced are now being refused and the fees refunded.

Current 457 visas can continue with their work in Australia but concerns are being raised about whether they can transit to permanent residency or not.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) confirmed that it has been inundated with industry complaints. It is now looking at amending the occupation list if necessary if an agreement can be reached with the industries involved.

Employers are asking for a wide range of occupations to be retained for temporary visa streams including marketing specialists, web developers, gas operators, pilots, ship engineers, retail buyers and petroleum engineers.

Chief executive officers and senior bosses in the retail sector argue that global executives are critical for local retailers such as Kmart, Target and Myer to compete against big international players like Zahra and H&M. Retailers are also fighting to retain access to global IT experts to bring their online services up to scratch.

‘Our member survey shows that these are new or emerging skills or are only internationally available. In almost every case retailers have advertised locally but close to 80% were unable to find someone to fill these positions,’ said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association is concerned about the implications for the maritime support sector which services Australia’s offshore oil and gas projects run by major companies such as Woodside Energy and BHP. Several members have advised their operations will no longer be viable without senior international experts working on their vessels and rigs.

‘Sourcing skilled international workers in key technical roles is a small, but vitally important part of many resource operations. Each one of these international roles supports dozens of jobs undertaken by Australians. We work and compete in a highly mobile, globalised industry,’ said Tara Diamond, AMMA director of industry services.

According to Jenny Lambert, director of employment and training at the Australian Chamber more than 60 industry groups have voiced concerns. ‘I am hoping that the Government will take on board the solid business cases and there will be some changes to the occupation list because there are some major issues but they have only given us a small window and the Government and opposition have made it clear they will maintain strong restrictions, ‘she said.

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