Jobs opportunities rise in Australia but employers hit by visa changes

by Ray Clancy on February 13, 2018

in Jobs in Australia

The number of jobs in Australia increased for the 15th month in a row in December, but employers may be holding off recruiting abroad because of visa changes due to take effect in March.

Overall 2017 was the best year for jobs growth ever with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing that 403,100 new jobs, over 1,000 a day, were created of which three quarters were full time jobs.


However, a new analysis suggests that fewer jobs are going to overseas skilled professionals as there has been a significant fall in the number of 457 visas being applied for since it was announced that it would be scrapped last year.

From March there will be instead two temporary visa streams, one for two years and one for up to four years and the number of occupations eligible for the new visas are also being changed.

Some 651 occupations were eligible for 457 visas, but there will be only 435 for the two year Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa which can be extended only once and offers no pathway to permanent residency. For the four year visa there will be just 183.

Research from the Australian National University shows that the number of 457 visas granted in the third quarter of 2017 fell by 35.7% compared to the same period in 2016.

Eight of the top 10 occupations for 457 visas had significant double digit declines. Developer programmers were down by 42% to 350, ICT business analysts were down 49% to 238, resident medical officers fell 18% to 436 and the top 457 job, cook was down 29% to 452.

The researchers suggest that given the near record employment growth last year, the sharp reduction in 457s appears to have nothing to do with demand for labour, but a response by employers and would-be employees to hiring as well as permanent residency being made more difficult and expensive.

Indeed, the possibility of permanent residency seems to have had an immediate difference to applications. The research shows that while the number of visas for cook fell considerable those for chefs did not. Cooks will be in the two year visa stream that cannot lead to residency while chefs come under the four year stream.

The report says that the increase in chefs could reflect genuine growth in employer demand for chefs but it may also reflect employers who previously nominated cooks now nominating chefs as this is a more advantageous occupation for migrants and employers given visa conditions.

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