Recruiting offshore may be “only viable option”

by 07 Feb 2012

The latest skills index has revealed a severe undersupply of skilled labour in corporate services* and engineering, and both require a ‘high level and immediate response’ by organisations.

The skilled labour supply was measured by Clarius group across 20 specific occupations and was found to be ‘extreme’ in two, ‘high’ in two, ‘balanced’ in three and ‘moderate’ in four.

“For companies seeking senior engineers or computing professionals there are few quick fixes. There is a lot of time required for up-skilling in these occupation categories so seeking these skills offshore, requiring 457 visas, may be the only viable option,” said Paul Barbaro, executive general manager of Clarius.

Top 10 occupations with the highest levels of skills shortages



Skill shortage

1. Corporate services managers


2. Engineering professionals


3. ICT professionals


4. Advertising and sales managers


5. Construction, distribution and production managers


6. Accountants, auditors, company secretaries


7. Legal professionals


8. Building and engineering technicians


9. Finance managers


10. Advertising and marketing professionals


However, it may not be all doom and gloom. "If the federal government relaxes some of the requirements for on-hire companies to obtain an on-hire labour agreement, allowing them to recruit overseas talent to hire out to clients, this will help alleviate some of these immediate pressures,” Barbaro said.

Additionally, given the softening of the skilled labour market, axing staff as a knee-jerk reaction to financial pressures may not be the most effective option, and getting them back may prove difficult. “Retaining a good skills mix, improving productivity and becoming more flexible with workforce options over the next 12 months would probably be a wiser and more productive long-term solution [to weathering the economic uncertainty],” Barbaro said.

The Visa 457 process

The requirements behind obtaining a Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) Visa are fairly straightforward, and for this visa employers need to firstly be approved as an eligible sponsor. This requires both an “eligible nominated occupation”, and an “eligible nominated employee”.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the process for obtaining a 457 visa can be summarised as:





1. Apply to the DIAC be a sponsor to recruit overseas workers

2. Nominate the occupations you want to fill, and the employees you want to fill those positions

3. Recruit the overseas workers to fill your nominated positions

4. Act as a sponsor for your employees applying for a visa

5. Cooperate with department's monitoring requirements

6. Meet obligations as part of the program


1. Accepts the offer of employment from the employer

2. Applies for a visa

3. Meets all conditions on their visa


Employers should note, the average salary for a employees on skilled migrant visa’s is $89,900.

Employer-sponsored workers

Labour agreements are formal arrangements to recruit a number of overseas skilled workers. Both temporary and permanent visas can be granted under the agreement, and agreements are generally effective for two to three years.

Who is this program for?

Situations where an employer may consider accessing a labour agreement include:

  • occupations that are not on the list of approved occupations for the Temporary Business (Long Stay) subclass 457 visa, permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – yet a genuine skills shortage exists or occupations are not covered under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)

  • where a business recruits labour for the supply to an unrelated business and/or the hiring of labour to unrelated businesses
    See: Labour agreement arrangements for the on-hire industry

  • meat companies - there are special arrangements for sponsoring skilled meat workers including for permanent residence.
    See: Subclass 855 – Labour Agreement Visa

How much does this program cost?

There is no charge for negotiating a Labour Agreement.

For temporary visas there is a non-refundable charge for each Temporary Business (Long Stay) Subclass 457 visa nomination application and visa application.
See: Employer Sponsored Temporary Visa Charges

For permanent visas there is a non-refundable charge for each visa application. There is no charge for lodging a nomination.
See: Employer Sponsored Permanent Visa Charges

What does this program let you do?

With this program you can employ a number of overseas workers on temporary and/or permanent visas.

Temporary Visa

With this visa those people you employ from overseas can:

  • work in Australia for up to four years
  • bring any eligible secondary applicants with them to Australia - secondary applicants can work and study
  • after entering Australia, have no limit on the number of times they travel in and out of Australia.

Permanent Visa

With this visa those people you employ from overseas, and any dependent family members included in their visa application, can live and work as permanent residents in Australia.

*Clarius Group defined ‘Corporate services’ managers as those who plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate the overall administration of organisations.


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