How the change in 457 visa impact hospitality industry in Australia
When the captions regarding Malcolm Turnbull’s abolishment of the 457 visa were printed recently, the entire hospitality industry held their breaths. For most entrepreneurs, employers and head chefs who are already struggling with the endless war of finding the right workers, this news came as a great blow. No one wants to pay the heavy fees involved in sponsorship, but a lot of restaurants, cafés and fast food chains don’t have a choice, and there are not enough workers out there.
Upon considerations and further reading, it’s been discovered that this news doesn’t affect all areas of the Hospitality industry, but will surely be crucial for some sectors.
Skills removed from the Skilled Occupational list
The Sectors that will be hit the toughest by these new laws are; Take Away, Fast Food, Café, and Production Kitchens. Applicants with the titles: Pastry Chef, Baker, Cook or Restaurant/Bar Managers (in ‘Limited service restaurants’) are the careers that have now been taken off of the Skilled Occupational list and will only meet the requirements for the Temporary Skilled Shortage visa (TSS). The TSS will only be useable for two years and will not lead to possible Permanent Residency (PR). (You will be able to apply for a second TSS after the first two years, but will then have to leave Australia permanently once your second visa has expired.)
According to the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the new TSS visa program will be included in a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years, which will “support businesses in addressing candid skill unavailability in their workforce” and will contain a number of safeguards, which prioritize Australian workers.
The reforms will limit the number of times a candidate can fail the citizenship test to three, and introduce an automatic fail for candidates who cheat during the citizenship test.
The implementation of these reforms will start straight away and will be completed in March 2018.
Currently, the 457 is a four-year visa that permits foreign workers to access works in more than 650 occupations. Under the new scheme, the Government plans to shorten this list of eligible occupations to 435, with 216 occupations removed and access to 59 other occupations limited. This new visa will touch both restaurants, hotels but also restaurant suppliers.
Data from the federal government indicates the hospitality industry is greatly dependent on skilled workers to fill openings in the local labour market, with cooks considered the main occupation class in the 457 visa program, with 760 applications approved from September 2015 up to September 2016. A total of 550 visa applications for cafés or restaurant managers were also approved in the same timeframe.
Restaurant & Cookery Australia estimates demand for a further 28,000 cooks and chefs across Australia over the next four years.
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as of June 30, 2016, there were 94,890 primary 457 visa holders in Australia. This means the total number of primary 457 visa holders who are sponsored by an establishment is equal to less than 1 per cent of the Australian labour market. This amount, however, rises if international students, backpackers, and other short-term migrants are included.