The Recruiter's Soapbox

457 Visas

Top Tips To Ensure Your Recruitment Business Continues To Flourish Post 457 Visa Changes


BMR hosted a breakfast meeting a couple of weeks ago on the 457 visa changes and the impact to hiring on our industry. We hit a hot topic head on and, if the feedback is anything to go by, everyone took a lot away from the event.

Through my research for my segment and listening to the 3 other speakers, Surinder Singh – Amber Migration, Dominic Trewick – Job Capital and Hannah Kissell – LinkedIn, I learnt a lot about what we can expect ahead. Here are my top tips for preparing your business to flourish post 457 visa legislation changes:



Don’t leave it to others. Play your part.


1. Help the RCSA to lobby the Government on our behalf.

Do you realise that the Government has no idea what we do? Can you believe it?  We are a multi-million dollar industry in Australia and the Government is clueless as to what we are all about.  The reason we have been bumped off the “good list” (MLTSSL), (4 year visas, opportunity to apply for residency through the ENS scheme) and put on the bad list (STSOL),  (2 year visas, no options for residency) is that we are not viewed as an industry!!

From an immigration point of view, we don’t warrant a category.  Recruitment sits as a subsection under HR and with the high numbers of HR students who graduate from Uni every year, officials are scratching their heads as to why on earth they are issuing so many 457 visa’s to recruitment agencies. So, they don’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. For more information on what you can do to help the lobbying efforts, please contact me directly.

2. Are you prepared for an influx in residency applications?

  • Have you identified your sponsored employees who will come up to 2 years tenure with your business prior to March 2018? Bearing in mind that after this cut-off date, they will have limited options to gain residency again.
  • Have you worked out your response if they ask you to support their application?
  • Have you worked out the impact on your time and finances to processes these applications?
  • Have you worked out the impact on the business if you say no?
  • Have you considered that once given their freedom, that person may move on once their residency is in place? If so, do you have a replacement strategy?  If the answer is no, I would suggest that you need to be thinking about it/planning for it now.

3. Competition for local, experienced talent who present no visa issues is going to be intense. Will you be successful?

I believe that focusing in on just one candidate stream is for most businesses is going to be challenging. Ignoring the overseas candidate pool completely, wipes out a huge segment of the traditional candidate pool. Looking at the BMR breakdown of placements over the last 2 years:  Only 41% of our placements had no visa constraints.  Breaking this down even further we could identify that 67% of our entire talent pool over the last 2 years, at some stage (whether they are residents/citizens today or not) originally came from overseas and went through the 457-visa program. Cutting out this talent stream means that you are fishing in a significantly reduced pool.



4. Your Employee Value Proposition is going to have to be outstanding to even get a look in with candidates.

You need to look carefully at your environment, your benefits, your financial rewards, your training and career offerings.  Everything will have to impress. One of the biggest things that I took away from Linked in’s presentation on the day is that you will have to be authentic.  A good consultant will easily be able to see through any lies. Your value prop must impress but it also must accurately represent you and your business.  Talking a good game which sounds nothing like the real you will not cut it with the discerning candidate.

5. We need to look at how we can make agency recruitment a more attractive proposition for the Australian Graduate.

If your hiring strategy moving forward is to focus purely on hiring local, junior talent, it is going to be challengingLet’s look at the BMR stats again for this one.  We have a dedicated Early Careers Desk and comprehensive process for finding and selecting good quality trainees.  Looking at the last 2 years of data here, the breakdown of our trainee placements shows us that only 46% were residents of Australia.  The bottom line is that when we talk to Australian graduates/junior talent they are scared off and inform us that it sounds just “too hard”.  We need to go to the Uni’s: Talk to them about our industry, increase their knowledge (no its not HR) and get their feedback.  Why are they not taking our industry seriously?  What do we need to change?  This is not something that is going to happen overnight.



6. When it comes to sourcing junior talent, we need to widen the net.

Old schools of thought limit potential trainee recruiters to those with sales backgrounds.  There are just not enough of this type of profile to meet demand.  If this is an avenue that you want to go down – speak to us.  Through our Early Careers Desk, we have worked with our clients to identify the profiles of their top and consistent performers, identifying and opening further avenues of talent. There are some real surprises in there such as Teachers, Architects, Flight Attendants. If you would like to find out more about this, contact Liat Gould at BMR: Contact Liat

7. Doing nothing is extremely risky. You need a hiring strategy.

If your plan is to play “the wait and see” game, do nothing and see how others fair, I would argue that this is flawed. My experience in our industry is that if you try to just stand still, you will in fact go backwards.  Technology is not standing still, your competitors are not standing still, new players enter the market and they are young, hungry and eager to make their mark.  Without a hiring strategy, if you lose consultants, you have no way to replace them.  In short, you need some sort of strategy to tackle the road ahead.

 8. Putting all your eggs in one basket.

Focusing on one hiring stream is risky and has you looking in an extremely small talent pool. You must be looking at a number of different hiring streams.

9. Investigate and consider utilising the labour hire agreement.

Do you know what this is? I’m not too proud to admit that until 4 weeks ago, I didn’t realise that this was an option for our industry and didn’t really understand what it was.  Put into simple laymen’s terms, the On Hire Labour Agreement has not been affected by the recent legislation changes, i.e you can team up with a 3rd party who holds the labour hire agreement for Recruitment Consultants and offer your staff a 4-year visa.  This could be the short-term answer to a number of company’s issues and concerns, particularly my smaller clients who have pulled out of the process of sponsoring directly.  For further information on the labour hire agreement for recruitment consultants please contact Dominic Trewick at Job Capital: Contact Dominic

In short, if something doesn’t change, the potential impact on our industry could be huge.  We may well see a candidate shortage like we have never seen before.  We may well see upward pressure on salaries like we have never seen before, as we try to keep resident’s salary in line with new legislation for their overseas colleagues and companies counter offer to the max to keep key talent on board.  We may also see a wholesale review of the way that we reward performance i.e commission structures, as the numbers are just not adding up, when you take these new visa costs into account and look at the financial pressure on businesses.

Are you ready?  Do you have your hiring strategy in place, and is it realistic?