Similar to several other countries, Australia also has some specific policies and programs for overseas workers. Previously, Australia offered a 457 visa for this cause. This visa was introduced in 1996 when John Howard was the prime minister of Australia; it was introduced in order to provide an opportunity to the Australia-based as well as overseas companies to sponsor skilled overseas employees as their temporary workers in Australia (Bissett & Landau, 2008). However, these workers were only allowed to work as per the occupation nominated by their sponsors but the good part was that a 457 visa holder was allowed to live in Australia for up to 4 years (Bahn, 2014). During this period, the workers would develop their professional skills while providing the desired labor to their sponsors. Moreover, as per an update made in 2012, the 457 visa holders were allowed to apply for Australian citizenships only if they have completed two years of employment in the country and if their sponsors offered them a full-time job (Bahn, Barratt-Pugh & Yap, 2012). However, recently the current prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the 457 visa will be abolished and a new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa will be introduced in its place. The new visa program is different from the previous one in various aspects suggesting that it will offer far fewer opportunities and scopes for the overseas workers to be hired in Australia, obtain a permanent visa, and to become a citizen of the country. Firstly, the workers will be hired as per a shortened list of approved occupations. However, the government has already reduced the number of approved occupations for the 457 visa, it is expected that the new list or even a more shortened list will be applicable to the TSS visa. Secondly, the TSS visa will require a minimum of 2 years of work experience for the overseas workers. The 457 visa offered employment to even those who did not have any work experience (Velayutham, 2013) but the new terms will ensure that only the experienced workers are hired for the companies. Thirdly, the employers will be required to provide proper Labour Market Testing evidence which suggests that no local individual is eligible to fill up the vacancy. This would lead to a delay in the application for visas and the situation will get worsened when the companies are in need of an urgent hiring. Fourthly, apart from the requirement of work experience the TSS visa will also focus on higher requirements as compared to the 457 visa. These requirements include a higher skill in speaking and writing English, and police clearances. Therefore, these changes will not only make it more difficult for the overseas workers to obtain a visa for working in Australia but it will also imply that the extension of the visas will go through extensive scrutiny and review.
Whereas the Australian government suggests that the changes will be implemented in order to make sure that the Australians get the first opportunity to be hired for the vacancies of companies in Australia, various experts suggest that the scenario will get worse for the industries (Ryan, 2017). The changes declared negate the proposals of the Independent Review of Integrity. For instance, the board found that there is no confirmation that required work advertise testing enhances employments for Australians and to be sure, the board alluded to OECD confirmation which affirms that the labour market testing led by the business entities is not completely solid (Taylor, 2017). Moreover, regarding the Australian setting, this testing has demonstrated ineffectual to ensure occupations for Australian laborers. The key stakeholders are also concerned regarding the potential impact of the changes. According to various industry leaders, the reforms would mean that they will have to go through many difficulties in hiring an eligible and desired overseas worker for a vacancy to which an Australian might not fit (Kelly, 2017). Moreover, there are concerns regarding the assumption that they would have to reluctantly employ the Australian workers when there is no option to employ a foreign worker in an urgent situation (Webster, 2017). Additionally, the workers currently on 457 visas have some other concerns. The proposed changes do not clarify the process for extending the visa period. Whereas the previous norms allowed to extend the visa period when required, the new norms might force these workers to go through an extensive review before the extension is approved. The advantage of the past occupation list was that organizations could get to any talented occupations where they could exhibit a need (Weller, 2015). While a portion of the occupations on the past CSOL was criticized in the media (old fashioned merchants and shearers, for instance), the various scope of occupations implied that organizations could react to advertising requests (Taylor, 2017). The advantage of the earlier list of occupations was that organizations could get to any occupation where they could exhibit a need. While a portion of these occupations was criticized in the media, the various scope of occupations implied that organizations could react to advertising requests. It also meant that a diverse set of skilled workers were working in different fields. Thus, there is also a concern for the stakeholders that the quality of their operations might drop down and the competitive scenario of the business will get diminished (Butler, 2017). The stakeholders associated with various industrial segments have demonstrated that current tasks have been put in danger by limiting access to designing occupations (Taylor, 2017). The absence of stakeholder counsel has brought about numerous organizations being contrarily influenced by the proposed reforms.
The declared changes have been created and executed without adequate discussion with the stakeholders. On the off chance that the proposed changes proceed without facilitating correction numerous organizations will encounter noteworthy challenges in securing basic aptitudes. The more extensive hazard is that businesses will lose the capacity to fill the most profoundly gifted parts, thusly repressing worldwide aggressiveness, and harming the more extensive Australian economy. Planned transients contrasting an open door in Australia and another very alluring goal for employment will factor in the vulnerability of getting changeless residency in any movement choice (Ryan, 2017). This can possibly make Australia a less alluring goal and subsequently make it more troublesome for managers to draw in and hold the best hopefuls. The incessant changes in the list of occupations records will make it hard to pull in and hold the most gifted specialists. A number of 457 visa holders are employed in the fields like medicine, engineering, and educational sector. For example, a number of current visa holders are operating in the professions of doctor or nurses (Butler, 2017). The following figure demonstrates the extent of such workers:
Figure1: Overseas Doctors and Nurses in Australia
[Source: Butler, J. (2017). What You Need To Know About The 457 Working Visa Changes. Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/18/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-457- working-visa-changes_a_22043897/]
Furthermore, the technology and engineering sector in Australia regularly hires overseas workers for their projects. Numerous foreign workers are currently employed in different engineering, technical and technology-based companies across Australia (Kelly, 2017). The following image will demonstrate the number of such workers:
Figure 2: Most Attracting and Employing Jobs for Overseas Workers in Australia
(Source: Burggraf, H. (2017). Report: More non-Australian workers eyeing Australia - International Investment. International Investment. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.internationalinvestment.net/regions/australia/report-non-australian-workers-eyeing-australia/)
If the changes are implemented, these workers will have much difficulty in renewing or extending their visa periods. Moreover, the companies will also find it very difficult to hire suitable workers for these extremely critical and important fields. Therefore, this would not only lead to a problem for the workers but also for the industries themselves. These difficulties make it more troublesome for organizations to design future development. Organizations require sureness that they will have proceeded with access to basic abilities, and offering key staff access to lasting residency is a key segment. Confronted with this instability, a few organizations which are thinking about building up operations in Australia will move to a more migration inviting ward. Existing organizations who can't source basic abilities will move seaward or twist up.
Although the Australian government stated that the abolition of 457 visas and the introduction of the TSS visa will ensure that the Australians get the priority and first opportunity to be employed by different organizations for various occupations, the stakeholders and policy reviewers think that the changes will make it difficult for the business entities to thrive. The reforms will make it harder for the overseas skilled workers to obtain or extend a visa to work in Australia. At the same time, the business entities will need to go through a strict review before hiring any overseas worker. This would mean that the organizations would often have to forcefully employ the Australian workers when they know that an overseas worker would be more eligible for a vacancy. The policy will certainly result in the reduction of the influx of foreign workers. At the same time, it may also force several business organizations to employ semi-skilled workers leading a drop down in the quality of services. Therefore, the government need to discuss the implications of the changes with the organizations and critically consider the potential problems in order to ensure that the Australians get the first opportunity for a job but the business also gets an equal opportunity to employ the desired and deserved foreign workers for better performance and continuous progression
Bahn, S. (2014). Migrant workers on temporary 457 visas working in Australia: implications for human resource management. Asia Pacific Journal Of Human Resources, 52(1), 77-92.
Bahn, S., Barratt-Pugh, L., & Yap, G. (2012). The employment of skilled migrants on temporary 457 visas in Australia: Emerging issues. Labour & Industry: A Journal Of The Social And Economic Relations Of Work, 22(4), 379-398.
Bissett, M., & Landau, I. (2008). Australia's 457 Visa Scheme. Alternative Law Journal, 33(3), 142-146.
Butler, J. (2017). What You Need To Know About The 457 Working Visa Changes. Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/04/18/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-457- working-visa-changes_a_22043897/
Kelly, J. (2017). Industry calmed by visa changes. Theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/industry- calmed-by-foreign-visa-changes/news-story/7185c124b438b5ff8c7b67a4807a3f5e
Ryan, S. (2017). Australia to axe the 457 temporary work visa. TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.thejournal.ie/457-visas-australia-3344764-Apr2017/
Taylor, J. (2017). Impact of 457 changes to employer sponsored permanent residency - Immigration - Australia. Mondaq.com. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/591896/work+visas/Title+Impact+of+457+changes+ to+employer+sponsored+permanent+residency
Velayutham, S. (2013). Precarious experiences of Indians in Australia on 457 temporary work visas. The Economic And Labour Relations Review, 24(3), 340-361.
Webster, M. (2017). 457 Visa to be Abolished - Replaced by Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa from March 2018 | Acacia | Immigration Australia. Acacia-au.com. Retrieved 8 August 2017, from https://www.acacia-au.com/457-visas-to-be-abolished-from-march- 2018.php
Weller, S. (2015). Accounting for Skill Shortages? Migration and the Australian Labour Market. Population, Space And Place, 23(2), e1997.
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