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457: Management and compliance

Rebecca Macmillan of global migration firm Stirling Henry and Deloitte's Alec Bashinsky explain how recent 457 changes have impacted HR and what employers and visa holders alike can do to ensure they remain compliant.

Video transcript below:

Reporter:   457 Visa changes are often making headlines, but what has changed recently?

Rebecca Macmillan, GM & Registered Migration Agent, Stirling Henry Global Migration
Rebecca Macmillan:
 2012 saw the biggest round of changes to the 457 visa programme since 2009.  Major changes included labour market testing where employers now need to advertise positions before they can nominate them for 457 visas.  There is also being changes to the English language exemptions with the removal of occupation exemption, which means that more applicants now need to provide evidence of their English language ability before they can apply for visas.  There has also been the introduction of skills assessments for program and project administrators or specialist managers.  All in all, our employers are finding it very manageable and they are still using the program quite intensely.

Reporter:  Alec Bashinsky of Deloitte says that in a world of global talent, sometimes they experience frustration with the 457 restrictions.

Alec Bashinsky, National Partner, People & Performance, Deloitte
Alec Bashinsky:
 We now very much live in a global talent world and we hire a lot of  people externally as much as we do on a global basis.  And with the advent of Linked-in and technology in general, it’s so easy to look at and acquire talent from Asia or from Europe or the Americas.  We see a lot of our Gen X, Gen Y, the Millenials wanting part of their career experience to be overseas.  So we are quite happy to let them go in other countries to provide that mobility.  Perhaps the frustration is that we have a very thin pot on because of 457 visas that doesn’t allow the right type of talent to come into this country.

Reporter:  However, Stirlling Henry’s Rebecca Macmillan explains that with the recent changes, the government was seeking to tighten control and make the process fairer for all involved.  

Rebecca Macmillan:  I think it’s fair to say that the broad changes that the government is looking to make the process simpler and easier for all parties.  However, in this instance the government was looking to tighten control of the 457 visa application process and make it fairer for all parties.  It was also to ensure the positions being filled by overseas talent weren’t taking away opportunities from the local labour pool.  I have been in Migration now for over 7 years and instances of misuse of the 458 visa programme are few and far between.  Many of my employers, particularly those in regional areas are reliant on the 457 visa programme to continue to do business.  

Reporter:  A huge yet often neglected issue with the 457s is compliance and Macmillan recommends vigilance to avoid penalties or worse.

Rebecca Macmillan:  Remaining compliant is mandatory for all employers, employer’s sponsors and visa applicants.  Often compliance is one of those areas which is long forgotten after the visa application has been approved.  Not complying can lead to severe penalties.  But compliance doesn’t need to be a burden or a complex process and we at Stirling Henry have tools  to assist our clients to manage their compliance.  Those tools can include training for staff on what their sponsorship obligations are and what visas conditions mean as well as helping them to keep records in good order.  We also have a visa alert service, which helps our employers keep on top of critical dates, such as visa expiry.  I recommend if you are unsure about compliance or if you have any questions, just speak to your migration consultant about it.

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