The silver lining in the long white cloud
The other option considered by many recruiters is to look outside Australian shores for skilled tradespeople. This is not to be undertaken lightly as it presents a whole new set of challenges, namely dealing with immigration laws, trade qualification recognition, language skills and relocation.
The current immigration laws require that immigrants wishing to work in Australia must satisfy the business-sponsored work visa subclass 457 requirements to be eligible. Depending on the applicant’s country of origin, it can be a long and sometimes difficult process. In an employment market where roles need to be filled quickly, long delays can be make overseas recruitment seem impractical.
However, there is an option across the Tasman that does not require the 457 visa: New Zealand.
The respective governments of Australia and New Zealand have agreements in place that give citizens of the latter the right to work in Australia for up to four years. Given the difficult employment and economic environment in New Zealand at present, working in Australia is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition. Recent analysis by Statistics New Zealand indicates that migration to Australia is at the highest levels since 1981.
“New Zealand ticks a lot of boxes for Sullair,” Krenmayr explains. “We don’t need to complete the 457 work visa, skills need minimal additional training to meet Australian standards, the language skills are in place and the relocation process is easier for both parties.”
“New Zealand recruitment is definitely an option,” agrees Edwards. “For many sites, language is a major consideration. Contractors must be able to communicate fluently with their colleagues, understand the safety requirements and pass the mine induction programs for their own safety, as well as the safety of other mining personnel and the site.”
One such recruit to Sullair Australia from New Zealand is Mike Lamusse. Originally a fitter and turner and engine rebuilder, Lamusse was between contracts in general engineering for the steel industry when Sullair Australia advertised for service technicians through seek.co.nz.
“I had heard of Sullair and knew they were part of a much larger international firm, but beyond that I didn’t really know much about them,” Lamusse recalls. “The service technician role outlined skills similar to what I have, so I opted to give it a go. Given the employment situation in New Zealand, it was well worth looking at other options such as this.”
“Mike’s background and citizenship status fitted the type of person we are looking for,” says Krenmayr. “He had the trade qualifications and aptitude, enabling him to confidently progress through our comprehensive training program.”
“I had offers from other international companies, but really it was the other benefits offered by Sullair that finally swayed my decision. The relocation package in particular for me and my family was very attractive,” Lamusse concludes.