The Department of Employment has released its Traffic Light Bulletin for possible changes to occupations eligible for the 457 visa scheme and the STSOL in January 2018.
Whilst the Bulletin is for consultation purposes only, meaning that no final decision has been made (yet), it is extremely concerning to see that the Department has identified the Recruitment Consultant occupation as one of only four occupations they are willing to take off the list.
If this occurred, there would be no capacity for businesses to sponsor new Recruitment Consultants on a skilled work visa within Australia. This is potentially a disaster for the recruitment industry, unless we can convince the Department that they are making a terrible mistake not just for our industry but ultimately for the Australian economy. We need to change their thinking on this!
Why has this happened?
We have already been bumped off the “good list” (MLTSSL), (4 year visas, opportunity to apply for residency through the ENS scheme) and put on the short list (STSOL), (2 year visas, no options for residency) and now they are proposing to remove our ability to sponsor in its entirety. The question is why???
Do you realise that the Government has no idea what we do? We are a multi-million dollar industry in Australia and the Government is clueless as to what we are all about. From an immigration point of view, we don’t warrant our own category. Recruitment sits as a subsection under HR. With the high numbers of HR students who graduate from University every year, officials are scratching their heads as to why on earth they are issuing so many 457 visas to recruitment agencies. So, the Department doesn’t understand that recruitment, as in “agency recruitment” is completely, wholly and fundamentally different to recruitment – one module of a HR degree. Put simply, our industry has fallen through the cracks.
The bad news:
We only have until December 1st, 6 working days, to put in submissions to change the Department’s mind.
The good news:
It is possible to change their mind. The Aviation and Racing industries were successful in overturning such a proposal, whilst the Real Estate industry for example which was removed, is now on course to get reinstated.
What do we need to do?
After talking to numerous migration and recruitment bodies, it is evident that everyone’s input is required. In particular we need strong submissions from industry bodies such as the RCSA and the larger, listed recruitment companies. It is these submissions that are likely to make the biggest impact. It is my understanding that the RCSA will be putting in a submission for change and will be meeting with the highest levels of Government this week.
I have spent my day lobbying the larger agencies to gain their assurance that they will be putting together a submission for change, and I have been encouraged by the response to these calls. However, we can all help out. BMR will be putting in a submission and we are only a small business. The message is clear, if we want to avoid a potential disaster, we all need to get involved.
How to submit:
These submissions need to have supporting evidence, so it is imperative that companies are looking at this sooner rather than later as it will take a fair bit of time and effort to get the relevant information together.
What does the Department of Employment need to know?
- Number of consultants on existing 457 / STSOL visas
- Number of consultants who have PR / Australian residency granted because of an initial visa
- Evidence of how your business has contributed to the overall growth of the recruitment industry and Australian economy
- An outline of how the proposed changes will affect your business moving forward
- Supporting evidence highlighting the difficulty in sourcing skilled, local professionals
- Case studies of hiring into key positions where you have been unable to attract local talent
- Case studies of any experienced 457 visa holders in your business who have been responsible for training Australian graduate recruitment consultants in response to the current industry skills shortage
- Impact of this change to business (smaller perspective) and the economy (greater perspective) – both short and long term
- Industry Stakeholders and even client statements
For some ideas, see our fact sheet: Barton Mills- Immigration Seminar Fact Sheet – August 2017
To enter your submission go to:
Please, please, please get involved to protect our industry. Please don’t presume that others are doing this. Please don’t leave it to someone else. We all need to get involved. I would really appreciate it if you can confirm whether your organisation will be putting in a submission on behalf of our industry and who the main point of contact will be.
Also, please feel free to forward this on to other industry specialists. I will be hitting social media quite hard with this and I would love to announce that your business is getting behind this.