2017 Budget Roundup: Edition Three



Business and budget news has been overshadowed this week by the Government’s controversial announcement that they will be cracking down on immigration laws in Australia. But it was the announcement of the removal of 457 visas that has sent the business world into a spin. 

The 457 visa was introduced by John Howard in 1996, shortly after he became Prime Minister. Holders of the 457 visa were able to be employed by a sponsor company for up to 4 years and were able to bring family members who had unrestricted work and study rights in Australia. It was designed to bring skilled workers into Australia to help companies that couldn’t find skilled professionals in their fields. There was also a requirement that they be paid a minimum of $53,900 to further represent the fact that they were skilled workers.

However, an audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2013 & 2014 found that 40% of 457 visa holders were no longer employed by a sponsor and were being paid well under the minimum wage. Rules around English language competency and businesses needing to prove they couldn’t find local talent were relaxed over the years and by 2013 there were 126,000 people here on 457 visas compared with 25,000 in 1996.

Changes this week
This week the Government announced that in March 2018 the 457 visa will be abolished and a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa will replace it. This will still allow companies to hire overseas workers for between 2 and 4 years. The objective is to still address genuine skills shortages, but will contain a number of safeguards designed to prioritise Australian workers.

While a number of professions have been removed, none of these are in the finance or technology space. For a list of the jobs that are still eligible click here.

What it really means?
Really, it is a name change and more stringent regulations that will be enforced. For example for accounting, it restricts entry level roles such as clerical or book keeping positions, excludes companies that have a turnover under $1 million AUD and have fewer than 5 employees. In the Information, Communication and Technology space it excludes positions that do not require a minimum of two years relevant work experience.

So if you are working in the technology or have the need for quality finance staff and you require overseas workers in your business then this will still be possible under the new legislation. However, we recommend that you go to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website to see the full requirements for your role.

As we edge closer to the Budget announcement stay tuned for Edition Four or get in touch with any questions you want answered contact us so we can make sure we keep bringing you relevant updates throughout the lead up to the Budget in May 2017.

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About Author

Michael Derin
Michael Derin

Michael Derin, Azure Group's Founding Partner and Chairman has over 28 years’ experience as a qualified Chartered Accountant within the business and commercial sectors. Michael works across our Technology, Corporate Advisory and CFO operations, managing highly complex projects to success.

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