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457s making talent development a headache

Simon Haag of Fragomen Worldwide and Alec Bashinsky of Deloitte explain how multinationals struggle to move their talent globally because of 457 restrictions.

Video transcript below:

Reporter:  The 457 Visa programme is no stranger to scrutiny, but are some of the negative perceptions unjustified?  Simon Haag of Fragomen Global Corporate Immigration Lawyers says sometimes the original intentions behind the 457 are misunderstood.

Simon Haag, Advisory, Compliance and Government Relations, Fragomen Worldwide
Haag:  The previous government introduced a number of additional requirements into the criteria for the 457 visa programme that were premised on concerns about integrity of the programme.  But what became apparent was a perception that employers were abusing the 457 programme if they employed people on 457 visas without first having tested the Australian labour market, when in fact the 457 programme was designed to allow multinational companies to move staff from an overseas office of their business into the Australian office of the same business. 

We have seen a groundswell of support and demand for an expedited pathway whether that’s part of the 457 visa programme or a standalone visa category that facilitates the processing of applications in the case of these intercorporate transfers.

Reporter:  Haag says that multinationals often wish to develop talent within different areas of the globe.

Simon Haag:  A growing area of the migration programme that we are seeing is where people are being assigned to Australia as part of a talent development rotation.  So if multinational companies are cottoning on to talent development and retention programmes whereby they identify future leaders across their whole business globally and engage them in management training rotations through multiple markets.

Australia is a popular destination for these kind of management training programmes because Australia is a relatively mature market compared to emerging economies in our region. Currently the processing time for these kinds of visa applications is 2 to 3 months and that’s creating challenges because the turnaround times for these kinds of rotations are quite tight.

Reporter:  Alec Bashinsky of Deloitte confirms that this is a frustration that they have experienced.

Alec Bashinsky, Chief Talent Officer, Deloitte
Alec Bashinsky:
 One of our frustrations sometimes is the whole concept of the 457 visa issue and I am sure there are many people out there who will be smiling in the same context and that is that we see a lot of our Gen-X Gen-Y and the millenials wanting part of their career experience to be overseas.  So we are quite happy to let them go in other countries provide that mobility.  Perhaps the frustration is that we have a very thin pipeline because of 457 visas that doesn’t allow the right type of talent to come into this country.

Reporter:  Haag believes that the current government’s appetite for de-regulation will lead to an easier ride for multinationals in this respect in the future.

Simon Haag:  What we have seen from the current government is real appetite for de-regulation in all areas of government but including the migration programme, upto the point where doing so would not affect negatively the integrity of the programme.  So the questions being posed by the government, how much red tape can we safely do away with, to what extent can government get out of the way of business and let business do what it does best, while ensuring that employers are complying with their sponsorship obligations that 457 workers are adequately protected and informed and that there are training and employment opportunities for Australians in these companies.

Government announced an independent review of the 457 visa program in February this year.  The points regarding intercorporate transfer and the challenges that companies face with those were put to the review panel and we look forward to seeing their recommendations when they are finalised later in the year.