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Government to introduce 457 visa replacement program to lure tech talent

19 Mar 2018

The Federal Government has announced a new visa scheme designed to attract highly skilled global talent to Australian businesses and tech startups. 

The program is set to be piloted from the 1st of July and will consist of two components aimed at both established businesses with over $4 million annual turnover as well as technology-based and STEM-related startup businesses.

A joint statement from the Minister for citizenship and multicultural affairs Alan Tudge and Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash reads, “The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.”

As part of the program, large businesses exceeding the $4 million turnover mark will be given the opportunity to sponsor skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia.

According to the government, these employers will need to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.

The sponsoring business must also have a track record of hiring and training Australians.

Technology-based and STEM-related startup businesses will also be able to sponsor experienced people with specialised technology skills.

Startups will need to be recognised by a startup authority and - like the larger businesses - demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians.

In both instances, a four year ‘Temporary Skill Shortage’ visa will be issued with permanent residence applications available after three years.

Minister Tudge says that the new scheme is about providing pathways for local businesses to access a highly sought after global talent pool.

"We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation," Minister Tudge says.

"At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas.

The Government says it will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months before piloting it on July 1 for a period of 12 months.

It says an industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.

Minister Cash says the scheme will particularly bolster the Australian innovation sector.

"Industry figures say globally mobile, highly skilled and experienced staff can act as 'job multipliers' in Australian businesses, helping them to hire more local staff and fill critical areas of need," she says.

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