Hartman Immigration Lawyers supports any strengthening to the integrity of the Temporary Work (Skilled)(subclass 457) visa program. We also believe in removing exploitation within the system. And we support a replacement of the subclass 457 visa system provided that the new program is tailored to better address skills shortages within the Australian labour market as well as providing flexibility for employers, thereby supporting businesses of all sizes to grow and enabling new technology and innovation to thrive in Australia.
Our concern is that the introduction of the new work visa system in its current state is too restrictive and will have adverse consequences for Australian businesses. Below is an example of how these changes can impact a business and provides an illustration of how these changes may impact upon other business in a similar position to “Company X” below.
Snapshot of potential consequences of the changes – Company X:
Company X is a recently established Australian business manufacturing and selling medical devices and plans to expand into the Brazilian market to sell its Australian product.
The business searches for a technical salesperson within Australia but cannot find an appropriate candidate with the connections, experience and Portuguese language skills to be able to adequately assist the company. However, Company X finds a Brazilian national with the required sales, marketing and language skills to drive Company X’s expansion into Brazil.
Although Company X would prefer to hire an Australian worker to fill the position (all Company X employees are Australian citizens and the company wants to avoid the cost to its business and the sponsorship obligations associated with hiring a worker through the subclass 457 visa program), this company simply cannot find a local employee with the appropriate experience and knowledge.
Accordingly, Company X lodges a subclass 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa application and the sponsorship is approved. Suddenly on 19 April 2017, the relevant occupation of Sales Representative (Medical and Pharmaceutical Products) has been removed and the company withdraws the nomination and visa application, even though the company genuinely needs the visa applicant to expand into the Brazilian market.
Company X then looks at sponsoring the visa applicant as a Sales and Marketing Manager. However, due to the new caveats, the occupation of Sales and Marketing Manager now requires the sponsoring business to have an annual turnover of AUD$1 million and Company X’s turnover is AUD$700,000.
The business cannot sponsor the employee needed to expand the company into the Brazilian market, despite the fact that this expansion may grow Company X’s turnover to the required $1 million threshold as well as create more jobs within Company X for Australian employees.
457 visa program review
The above scenario provides just one example of the consequences of the new work visa system. Whilst we support changes to the 457 visa program which improve its integrity, the new program needs to be reviewed so as to allow Australian businesses the flexibility to respond to genuine skill shortages and provide certainty going forward for employers (and investors).
The information on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on relevant matters. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. You are advised to seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained in this website.