RESTRICTIONS THAT discourage recruitment companies from acting as 457 visa sponsors have the potential to reduce the number of nursing, engineering, trades and IT staff coming to Australia, the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) has warned.
The Government’s changes to the 457 rules are set to only exacerbate the skills shortage Australian businesses and hospitals are facing, said Julie Mills, CEO of the RCSA
“Many of them rely on on-hire companies to sponsor and supply skilled migrants in critical roles such as engineering, IT, trades and nursing. But the move to cut the on-hire sector out of the 457 visa scheme will remove that much-needed source of labour,” she said.
The recruitment industry has found that changes to the 457 visa scheme that restrict nursing recruitment agencies from sponsoring nurses on temporary work visas will worsen the shortages in rural and indigenous communities, as well as aged care facilities.
The RCSA said that the move to make it impossible for on-hire companies to sponsor 457 visa holders, unless they submit to an onerous and unworkable labour agreement, was met with surprise and disappointment.
Despite months of consultation between RCSA and the Government, the labour agreement was drafted without any input from the body.
“We are talking about recruiting into the very industries that are driving our economic boom – resources, energy and mining, as well as industries that are critical to the wellbeing of the community, in particular healthcare,” Mills said.
Already the demand for nursing staff exceeds the industry’s capacity by close to 15 per cent on average, and during peak times by up to 25 per cent, she said.