AUSTRALIA AFTER ABOLITION OF 457 VISA BUSINESSES FACING TROUBLE IN RECRUITING FOREIGN WORKERS AND NOW ADVISED TO USE SUBCLASS 124 VISA KNOWN AS DISTINGUISHED TALENT VISA BUT IT HAS ONLY 200 PLACES WHICH ALREADY GOT FILLED IN MAY 2017
Businesses facing obstacles recruiting workers following the 457 reforms are being advised to use the ‘distinguished talent’ visa, even though just 200 of these visas are granted each year.
Opportunities to recruit international leaders in sport, art or research may be lost by a predicted overloading of the distinguished talent visa program caused by the 457 reforms.
The government is maintaining its ceiling of 200 places for the distinguished talent visa (DTV) program for 2017-18, despite Department of Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo advising businesses and universities to use DTVs if they face obstacles in the new 457 program. A backlog of applications has already begun building in 2016-17.
Alex Kaufman, Migration Manager at employment advisory firm FCB, said there will be many people who – because of their age or occupation – no longer qualify for the general skilled migration program but may qualify for the distinguished talent visa.
“With such a small quota, a significant proportion of these DTV applications would need to be carried over and processed in the next program year, and on that basis, it is easy to see applications eventually being pipelined for multiple years,” he said.
A Department of Immigration spokesperson could not confirm when the 2017-18 ceiling is expected to be met. In the Senate Estimates hearing in May, an official from the Department confirmed they did not do modelling on how changes to the 457 visas might affect the DTV program.
The ceiling of 200 for 2016-17 had already been reached with more than a month still to go in the current financial year, and the 457 reforms were only announced in April.
The distinguished talent program awards permanent visas to applicants who demonstrate “an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement”.
French-born make-up artist Charlotte Ravet, who was awarded a distinguished talent visa two years ago based on her experience working in Europe for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Prada and MiuMiu, said if her application had taken more than six months, she may not have waited for the outcome.
“I had a strong network of clients in Paris and would probably have had to return to my life there,” she said.
“It is harder to obtain clients when you do not have permanent residency and I couldn’t wait for years as it could have slowed down my career.”
Mr Pezzullo sought to assure a Senate Estimates hearing in May that the immigration changes will not mean Australia loses out on top international academic talent, now limited by an age restriction of 45 years in some cases.
“We will always ensure that Australia gets the distinguished talent that it needs to do its national business,” he said.