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How does immigration affect businesses

By | Audrey Taylor | Marketer Researcher and Social Media Manager : https://www.canva.com

Markets have been affected by immigrants throughout the history. However, nowadays, with the economic turbulence and constant and huge movements of refugees around the world, ethics of immigration and its effect on business have been a source of numerous discussions.

When it comes to Australia, its startup scene has been one of the best in the world. The Australian startup system has produced renowned companies such as Freelancer, 99Designs, Atlassian and Canva. Thanks to that, some of the brightest minds in the world found their vocation and home in Australia, but also thanks to the vicinity of Asian markets, high standards and excellent quality of life.

However, things are about to change very soon. Last year, it was announced by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Visa 457 will be abolished in March 2018. It is a program that concerns specifically skilled immigrants. With the addition of two new visa programs having been created, it would be good to explore the effects of these changes on Australian startup scene and, consequently, business in general.

Visa 457 – what it was exactly?

This program helped thousands of skilled immigrants to get a legal job in Australia and to obtain permanent residency in the country.

Through this program, Australian businesses, mainly startups, would sponsor a skilled worker from any corner of the world, providing them with the possibility to stay up to 4 years in the country. In order to get the approval for this visa, Australian companies had to prove that no Australian citizen is competent and skilled to do that job, so the visa wasn’t just handed over without any limitations.

The new visas

For a long time, the Australian federal government was claiming that Visa 457 was preventing Australian citizens from getting the jobs that immigrants ended up doing. Finally, they managed to cancel the whole concept, simultaneously introducing two new visa programs, called Temporary Skill Shortage Visas that last two and four years. The first change that comes to everybody’s attention is that new programs come with a shorter list of jobs available for skilled immigrants. More precisely, the list that was about 650 different jobs long is now reduced to only 450 of them. Furthermore, the new law requires the immigrants to showcase better knowledge of English, a clean police record and to have a two-year-long work experience. Lastly, every case where the application is made for a certain position, a mandatory labor market testing will be performed to determine that there is no Australian citizen who can do the job in question.

The effect on startups

In general, startups rely on people who have very specific skills, which is why those people frequently come from other countries. It can be said that on paper the new law does not forbid them from coming to Australia to work, but cutting the list of jobs by a third will definitely disable many startups from sponsoring skilled immigrants needed for a specific position. Once the new law has become effective, those Australian startups will face big challenges while trying to find a competent worker who fits their budget. The ones who will be most affected by this cut are startups and migrants from creative niches like actors, singers, writers and composers, followed by medical industry, HR, PR and catering professionals. Some other professions reserved for Australians only will be police officers, translators, pilots, jockeys, and zookeepers.

Furthermore, the requirement for sponsorship in the amount of $1 million is hard to meet for many startups, preventing them from getting the competent workers they need.

What has also been pointed out as a drawback of the new law is that various educational jobs that also enable innovations, which have been cut out from the list, will deprive young people of Australia to have a new experience and improve their knowledge. In other words, future domestic workers won’t get the chance to learn from foreign experienced professionals whose knowledge is critical for a specific niche, especially in IT and marketing.

Even though some foreign workers meet the requirements for acquiring a job in Australia, it still makes the process of moving to Australia more difficult. This is why many migrants will be suggested to consult migration agents before applying for a job in Australia, as they will be the best individuals to present them the new law and the application requirements.

Alternatives for migrants

Still, there are certain groups of migrants that could get a hold on a working Australian visa despite the changes. Immigrants under the age of 30 will still have somewhat easier access to jobs in Australia through the working holiday visa program, which enables young people with any type of qualifications to spend a year working in Down Under. There have even been rumors that this program could be extended to 2 years if the individual in question agrees to work three months in a rural region.

What’s more, some sat that skilled workers from overseas can be allowed to apply for Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187), depending on their experience, qualifications, and Australian residence. However, consulting an expert would be highly recommended in this case, too.

Final words

Maybe it is still too early to draw firm conclusions, but so far, it seems that Australian startup scene will be negatively affected by the abolition of Visa 457. The results are yet to be seen, but the fact that Australian startup community sees it as a major problem and is not afraid to be really loud about it speaks for itself.


Audrey Taylor was born in San Francisco, and moved to Adelide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across the Europe. Her hobbies include: home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies.

Source : https://www.canva.com

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Ramesh Ranjan

A Business Consultant, Executive Coach, Visiting Professor, Content Manager & Editor. Ex IIM NASSCOM LRC, ex VP NHRD Bangalore Chapter, ex VP-HR@Schneider Electric, Head HR@ APC, Caltex,Co Systems, Natural Remedies. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rameshranjan/

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