Agencies face exodus of British staff and bigger super bills following axing of tax perk

Recruitment of overseas staff into Australian advertising, media, PR and digital agencies looks set to become significantly tougher after the Government revealed that it plans to withdraw a major tax perk that makes it easier to attract overseas staff.

The Living Away From Home Allowance allows overseas workers on a 457 business visa to claim their accommodation and living costs against tax.

The impact of the changes – likely to kick in on July 1 next year – will be particularly dramatic on the media and marketing industry which recruits a large number of staff from the UK. The benefit is a major negotiation point for employers when trying to persuade potential recruits to come to the country.

One result of the change will be that the cost of living for staffers working in the country on a 457 visa and claiming the LAFHA will grow dramatically as they will effectively find their rent is costing them around 40% more in real terms.

There will also be a major cost for employers, who will now have to pay super contributions on affected staff members’ entire pay, rather than only on the part not claimed back against the LAFHA. In some individuals’ cases this will see companies having to pay twice as much super as they do currently.

The changes may see companies come under pressure to give staff pay rises to make good the shortfall, or risk losing them.

The changes – announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday – are due to come in on July 1 next year.

In the statement Swan blamed rorting of the sytem for the changes. The announcement said:

“The Government will introduce reforms to stop individuals from being able to exploit the tax exemption for living-away-from-home allowance and benefits.

“This tax exemption is being increasingly misused by a narrow group of people, particularly highly-paid executives and foreign workers, at the expense of Australian taxpayers.

“Rorting of this tax exemption… has seen the total amount of tax-free living-away-from-home allowance reported by employers to the Australian Taxation Office increase from $162 million in 2004-05 to $740 million in 2010-11.”

KPMG’s tax partner Andy Hutt predicted: “This is a move which will significantly increase the cost for Australian businesses of attracting highly skilled foreign workers.

“The majority of employers were not rorting the rules but providing the benefits in a manner consistent with the legislation and with the tax office’s public rulings.”

According to the announcement there will now be a consultation period.

  • Declaration of interest: Some members of staff at Mumbrella’s parent company Focal Attractions are employed on 457 visas and will be affected by the changes.


  1. The Joker
    30 Nov 11
    1:05 pm

  2. I never thought I could be turned into a Tony Abbot voter, but now I am

  3. JJ
    30 Nov 11
    1:07 pm

  4. I haven’t read the full report but couldn’t the increase from the ATO’s figures (in 04/05) be as simple as more employee’s arriving to work from overseas?

  5. OKAY
    30 Nov 11
    1:14 pm

  6. @The Joker if all it took was this issue, then you already are a Tony Abbot voter…

  7. Aussie Made
    30 Nov 11
    1:22 pm

  8. The problem has always been Poms are “over-hyped, overpaid, and over here”. They run the recruitment industry anyway!

  9. Tom
    30 Nov 11
    1:30 pm

  10. Never knew about this.
    No wonder all the Poms live in high-rent suburbs and drive expensive cars/bikes.
    What a rort!

  11. Neil
    30 Nov 11
    1:30 pm

  12. I know a number of workers who have been on 457 visa’s for a number of years so they still get the tax break. Good on the government, why should we residents and citizens pay full tax while people keep dodging the system with no intention of going back overseas. If you are here for the long term, then pay like we all do, don’t keep dodging the system, apply for your residency and give back to the country you have lived in for the past number of years

  13. Ann
    30 Nov 11
    1:32 pm

  14. Excellent move, more jobs for Aussies

  15. Gezza
    30 Nov 11
    1:50 pm

  16. Like so many well intentioned tax breaks eventually it just distorts the market and becomes a rort. An easy one for Swany as who care about a bunch of rich poms. Now try something meaningful like negative gearing.

  17. Mitchy
    30 Nov 11
    1:51 pm

  18. This was always an unfair tax break, dished out in certain industries (usually ones with highly paid ex-pat execs) rather than to everyone. Most Aussies know nothing about it & are gob-smacked when they hear about it; many companies don’t understand it, and most Brits who get it rub their hands in glee at the free cash and stay ‘temporarily’ for years. I’m hoping Eastern Suburbs rent will drop 40% as a result…….

  19. Nick
    30 Nov 11
    1:58 pm

  20. Let’s not forget that this tax break was introduced by the government to benefit pollies living in Canberra during the week and Sydney/Melbourne/etc at the weekend.
    You reap what you sow

  21. Sally
    30 Nov 11
    1:59 pm

  22. My company cannot afford to pay full super etc and we benefit from excellent overseas experience which locals just don’t have. Also worth noting for those not good at economics (Tom, Neil, Ann…) that more income means more spending which keeps the Aus economy turning so the supermarket chick keeps her job. So don’t think the Poms are siphoning off money to huge offshore accounts. That’s just not how it works. And ‘Aussie Made’, have you been to London recently, Aussies run the pub industry!!

  23. Matty
    30 Nov 11
    2:03 pm

  24. Boo hoo. Welcome to Australia. I’m sick of subsidising you.

  25. Lee
    30 Nov 11
    2:07 pm

  26. With the greatest of respect you should ask yourself why so many “Poms” get LAFHA. They are obviously skilled and talented in there own discipline otherwise so many Australian organisations wouldn’t employ them. ‘Aussie Made’ you sound bitter for some reason, pretty embarrassing and Tom you sound rather jealous. If Australians were that good at there jobs you wouldn’t be crying out for us “Poms”.

  27. Aussie Made
    30 Nov 11
    2:09 pm

  28. Sally…Sally…Sally You should be paying Super it’s the law!

    Also Supermarket chicks and Aussie back-bakers running pubs don’t live the high life.

  29. Karl Pilkington
    30 Nov 11
    2:14 pm

  30. Dammit, I guess my Bentley is going back then, and its going to be a shame for me to leave Point Piper. Thanks LAFHA, you’ve been greatly appreciated

  31. Gonna be skint
    30 Nov 11
    2:15 pm

  32. As a Pom I totally understand the Aussie’s frustration, and they’re right, but how about making it fairer.

    You get a 457, you get LAFHA.

    After 2 years, if you’re going to stick around it’s enforced PR and Aussie taxes or go home.

    That would be fair on the Poms who have uprooted and are often trying to finance houses back in the UK while they settle in. And fair on the tax system.

    I’ll wait for the flack.

    More jobs for Aussies comments, really, in this day and age? Maybe that’s why you have to employ Poms.

  33. flesh peddler
    30 Nov 11
    2:16 pm

  34. this is bad news for the Australian ad industry because it just made us less competitive on a global scale.

    the reason agencies import talent is two fold

    1. some of them are better trained, better qualified and just better than the local equivalents.

    2. we aren’t taking on enough graduates and entry level candidates and we lose too many of the good mid weights and seniors to other industries, motherhood etc

    making Australia less attractive as a destination is going to attract less of the better qualified and is going to leave shortages at the senior levels. Yes, the industry will have to invest more juniors and make the market more attractive, flexible etc but that will take years – cf the Doctor shortage

  35. what the...
    30 Nov 11
    2:29 pm

  36. Excellant! About time someone closed this loophole and create conditions for local talent compete on a level footing. Now hopefully the industry can stop trying to become a mini London and find it’s own identity.

  37. Cash is King
    30 Nov 11
    2:29 pm

  38. @sally, for those of us that do have a good understanding of economics.

    The LAFHA in principle is a reasonable policy for local workers (it adds to the ability of Australia to have a mobile workforce, without the worker being disadvantaged).

    LAFHA for overseas workers is nothing more than a rort . LAFHA was never intended to work the way it does. Overseas workers gain a substantial advantage over local workers due to the tax break gained

    The advantages in (very) simple terms can be seen as

    1/ Overseas workers have more net income each pay cycle, which allows them to live a ‘better’ life than locals, which pushes rent and living costs up (net negative to the overall economy)

    2/ The overseas worker gains an advantage in employment as they are able to have a lower salary package, again due to the tax break. Making them more employable (Benefit depends on where you sit, but depression of wages in general stagnates an economy)

    If you don’t think point 2 occurs you are in for a shock. As an accountant and manager with loads of industry experience I can assure you it happens. You can pay a UK account Director $100k per year and that person would receive the same take home pay and lifestyle as an Australian Account Director who is paid $130k (rough figures to illustrate my point)

    Work it out by person in your agency and you can see the savings a business can make using overseas professionals. And here is the kicker, any errors in applying LAFHA fall to the employee and not the employer. In other words the employer is not liable (in general) for incorrect tax due to LAFHA. So the employer has a strong incentive to allow LAFHA even if they think it shouldn’t be applied.

    LAHFA for overseas workers doesn’t nothing but distort the free market in favour of non residents.

    Also while I am on my box, @Sally if more spending was all it took to kick start an economy, then perhaps Gillard et al, should just send out another round of $900 cheques.

    That ladies and gents is my two cents worth!

  39. Tony Simms
    30 Nov 11
    2:31 pm

  40. Youch!

    My sympathies to the Brits but it had to happen.
    A level playing field where people are hired on
    their merit and skills is good for the long term future of the
    industry. Perhaps the industry will now have to
    invest more in the training, development
    and retention of local talent.

    I have met more than a few Brits who
    gloat about being here for a good time rather
    than being here for a long time.

    As someone who has invested a ton of years
    locally and is feeling the brunt finding a role in a
    tough job market, the change is a breath of fresh air.

    “We are looking for someone with UK experience”
    is a mantra I have heard usually from Brits.

    Is there anyone else who has been on the receiving
    end of this one? Is this a prequalifier to save money
    or is it a case of jobs for the boys…sorry… lads?

    Declaration of interest: My Brit ancestor arrived in 1791
    and worked in chains in a road gang while building
    Macquarie St and was given 50 lashes for refusing
    to work in bare feet in January but ended up as a

  41. Kerry
    30 Nov 11
    2:33 pm

  42. The LAFHA is not the main reason why most Poms move from the UK to Oz. Certainly not going to turn my nose up at it, but I really can’t envisage an “exodus” due to these changes.

    More jobs for Aussies Ann? We are filling a the gap in the skills shortage.

  43. Cash is King
    30 Nov 11
    2:35 pm

  44. oh and another thing, I think you will find most overseas workers in our industry don’t come to Australia to get more industry experience, they come to live the lifestyle and enjoy the ‘good’ life of which a component is having a relatively strong economy.
    Broad brush generalisation maybe.

    However you can’t reasonable argue that a UK person with intentions of migrating to Australia is going to not come over a $7k pa tax advantage for a 2 year period….

  45. Nicky Bryson
    30 Nov 11
    2:36 pm

  46. Maybe now more home-grown talent will be able to find a foot-hold in media and marketing.

  47. Tiki Godzilla
    30 Nov 11
    2:43 pm

  48. Finally! I dont pay taxes so that I can subsidise well paid executives and engineering staff to live in sweet pads all over the Eastern Suburbs. By and large, staff are extremely well paid in this industry, learn to live on what you get (which is ample). Maybe if half the poms in the industry didnt claim LAHFA and still whinge relentlessly about the cost of living there might be some sympathy, but there isnt.

    And Sally, if you cant afford to pay superannuation, you are essentially trading insolvent and shouldnt be in business. Superannuation is a legal requirement.

  49. Mick
    30 Nov 11
    2:47 pm

  50. Sally, you are wrong. I have many Aussie friends in the UK, whose professions range from IT, to accounting, to advertising, teaching and local council work. So please, cut the generalising. Because the same could be said for Sydney pubs being run by a strong British contingent.

    Also, I have loads of UK mates, my girlfriend included, who regularly send their hard earned Aussie dollars back to banks in Old Blighty.  

    The truth is, like everyone who’s going to lose money from this, you’re just a bit upset. 

    I personal am all for this amendment.

  51. Stu
    30 Nov 11
    2:48 pm

  52. With regards to previous comments made about us ‘Poms’ being here for the haul with no intention of going back home – fair point however us ‘Poms’ here for a short period of time on working holiday visas still pay 30c on the $ in tax and are a large part of the ecomony over here ! where is the incentive to get tourism into the country or indeed keep skilled workers here to help build a better Australia ?

  53. J
    30 Nov 11
    2:50 pm

  54. I can’t see this causing an exodus of British staff – I’m sure they are aware of what’s going on in the UK and Europe.

  55. powzy
    30 Nov 11
    3:00 pm

  56. this news really sux. ahhh i hate LABOR!!!!

  57. Debbie Downer
    30 Nov 11
    3:02 pm

  58. It isn’t being totally removed, just more restrictions placed – isn’t it or have a read it wrong?

  59. what the...
    30 Nov 11
    3:05 pm

  60. Unfortunately, this change probably won’t clean out the senior POMEs running agencies and departments around town. These people have driven the industries recruitment policies through what can only be called “discrimination” for many years (see @ tony simms above).

    These people are well embedded with strong links back to their respective “motherships” and are not going anywhere. Apart from which, there are no jobs back in the UK anyway. Pity, opportunity to really change the face of the industry and start doing create Australian advertising again will be missed.

  61. mumbrella
    30 Nov 11
    3:05 pm

  62. Hi Debbie,

    This backgrounder from KPMG may be useful further explanation:

    Changes to taxation of LAFHA to increase cost for Australian employers, says KPMG

    Today, the Government announced reforms to the fringe benefits tax (FBT) treatment of living away from home allowances (LAFHA) and other LAFH benefits as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2011-12.

    Commenting on the announcement, Andy Hutt, KPMG Tax Partner says:

    “The government proposes that the FBT exemption for living away from home benefits will cease to apply to many taxpayers’ situations from 1 July 2012. This is a move which will significantly increase the cost for Australian businesses of attracting highly skilled foreign workers.” said Mr Hutt.

    Under the government’s proposals, employers will only be entitled to the FBT exemption in relation to most temporary resident visa holders where the employee’s usual place of residence (which they are living away from for work purposes) is maintained for their use in Australia.

    That means that foreign nationals whose usual place of residence is overseas are likely to become ineligible from 1 July 2012.

    In addition, Australian citizens and permanent residents who are receiving a LAFHA (as opposed to reimbursements) will be required to treat it as part of their assessable income, substantiate their actual expenses and claim the appropriate offsetting tax deduction on their personal tax return.

    The government has refrained from imposing the requirement to maintain a place of residence for their use in the home location on Australian citizens and permanent residents. “At least it has steered clear of undermining domestic labour market mobility” says Mr Hutt.

    The government has released a consultation paper on the implementation of the proposals, but does not appear to be open to allowing broad-based transitional relief for existing arrangements.

    “It is pretty clear that the government has introduced these reforms to stop people from being able to exploit the tax exemption for LAFH benefits, however the great majority of employers were not “rorting” the rules, but providing the benefits in a manner consistent with the legislation and with the Australian Taxation Office’s public rulings,” said Mr Hutt.

    This change will increase the cost for Australian employers of attracting talented individuals from overseas to come and work in this country.

    “We may see this change also impact Australia’s aspiration to be a regional financial centre, considering that employers placing individuals in regional financial services roles will now have even lower relative tax costs, as well as more convenient travel opportunities, if they choose to locate their staff in Singapore or Hong Kong,” said Mr Hutt.

  63. Hamo
    30 Nov 11
    3:06 pm

  64. No chance of an exodus now. The good weather has just started.

  65. I'm outta here!
    30 Nov 11
    3:08 pm

  66. Nicky Bryson – if this ‘home grown talent’ are so good, why aren’t they working already? The 457 visa is used when the hiring company cannot find an Australian
    capable of doing the job!

    Most people on 457s in Sydney are VERY good at what they do, so will either waltz back to blighty or negotiate a salary increase from their current employers.

    When you take away the cash incentive of LAFHA there’s very little to choose between living in London and Sydney.

    Sorry if the truth hurts, but the quality of education and on-the-job training in the UK is infinitely better than anything on offer here, hence the reason Australian companies have been so eager to fill roles with people from the UK.

    The situation makes me smile because everyone sees it as a win-win. Australian’s claim it as some moral victory; expats laugh because they know that most of them will go home and leave the industry to fester in mediocrity.

    At least estate agents won’t have such an easy time renting out hovels in Manly and Bondi!

  67. Doc
    30 Nov 11
    3:11 pm

  68. It’s about time this loophole was closed. I’m sick of seeing the “jobs for Poms” rort in the Ad game. Exodus? Good.

  69. Joseph
    30 Nov 11
    3:12 pm

  70. This isn’t going to free up more jobs for aussies. The brits get the jobs because they are skilled. This is yet another STUPID move by labor. It just blows me away! Businesses have been hit hard enough.

  71. Jospeh
    30 Nov 11
    3:13 pm

  72. about time aussies stopped carrying the tax burden for these leaches from os.
    Bloody over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. AC
    30 Nov 11
    3:15 pm

  74. Geography always dictates in the end peeps, why don’t you all get ‘on topic’, ie prepare for the Chinese and Asian influx into this ASIAN country, and let’s all come on in for the big win! :]

  75. Phil
    30 Nov 11
    3:15 pm

  76. I agree there should be a two-year threshold, but that is what a 457 is (4 Year Temp Visa) Australia is dramatically shy in Resources/Talent for specific industries. If you are going to encourage someone to uproot their lives overseas and pay the dramatically higher cost of living out here to help develop the digital infrastructure and not provide tax benefit you will just be hurting the economy. Companies will just be forced to pay more than they already do which will increase the cost of goods sold and just make the cost of living higher.

    The cost out here is already so high out here I have known it to be turning away international tourism and it will eventually impact Trade.

    Without LAFHA attracting Quality Talent will be more difficult. I am on a LAFHA with my partner one of us gets it the other pays full AU Tax and we both pay tax back to the USA as well. We also get zero socialised benefits, and despite the Health Insurance back in the states I actually had better coverage for healthcare then I do on the private insurance I have to buy into here.

  77. Golly
    30 Nov 11
    3:17 pm

  78. Hopefully this will free up more space in Bondi.

  79. Jimbob
    30 Nov 11
    3:17 pm

  80. Wow, no more jobs for the boys, sorry, lads

    I notice someone said why aren’t Aussies in the jobs, well…a lot of the ad directors are British, and hire their mates.

    This is fantastic!!!!! The job market might open up a bit now, and the Australian ad industry might stop being the British cum Aussie ad industry.

    No more words such as “snog”,”lad”,”in-it”,”dusty”.

  81. anon_coward
    30 Nov 11
    3:17 pm

  82. My company is dominated by expat Poms. They bring a lot of knowledge and skills and in general have a higher grade of experience than many locals. However I have to agree with the backlash – the vast bulk I’ve met are here for the lifestyle, and couldn’t give a hoot about much else. Broad generalisation I know, but the thing with generalisations is that they’re grounded in truth.

  83. Golly
    30 Nov 11
    3:19 pm

  84. And typical whining Expats. Most won’t be missed. Go home so we can employ more Aussies, otherwise pay taxes. Simple.

  85. gohomestayhome
    30 Nov 11
    3:19 pm

  86. I often wonder about the english in media in australia. It all seems to be about living on the beach not so much career development. The few i have had the displeasure of working with would not be hired in the UK either.

  87. Michaela Aguilar-Davis
    30 Nov 11
    3:20 pm

  88. Look at the bright side. It will help local talent that is over looked at the moment. Why is it that Aussies always think that overseas people are better?

  89. Cash is King
    30 Nov 11
    3:21 pm

  90. @I’m outta here! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    “Education and on-the-job training in the UK is infinitely better than anything on offer here”

    Have you checked out the economic and social mess that is the current reality of the UK and Europe? The great education and on job training really helped!

    Your comments border on xenophobia and smack of imperialism. I suspect a Troll but hey I’ll bite. I think you will find most UK expats are enjoying their time in Australia, just as we enjoy our time in Europe. Some stay , some go but we are all better for the experience. I can’t see how changes to LAFHA is going to fundamentally change the makeup of the industry.
    But then again my less than great Masters degree in Economics from an Australian Uni wouldn’t hold a candle to the University of Hull would it?

  91. HAL 9000
    30 Nov 11
    3:22 pm

  92. We still get the LAFHA, it’s just changed its name to the Aussie Dollar. With the UK economy the silent basket case in the world economy (artificially kept alive by unsustainable gilt yields) the disparity between UK pound to AU dollar is not set to change, but only become more pronounced.

    The LAFHA was required at a certain time to attract certain talent. However, that is now not the case, so it’s time for it to go. As the UK economy is a banking economy, when the UK banks fall apart over the next 12 months, Australia will become even more attractive.

  93. Macsmutterings
    30 Nov 11
    3:24 pm

  94. “This tax exemption is being increasingly misused by a narrow group of people” so the Government think it best to punish ALL that get the tax break…. Go figure

  95. Richard
    30 Nov 11
    3:24 pm

  96. Woohoo, more jobs for us Aussies. They all walk and talk too fast anyway.

  97. Brit
    30 Nov 11
    3:25 pm

  98. I am a Brit and think this is great news. If you come to Australia then you should work as Australian… why should Brits be given more benefits when the average Australian has less?
    Australians have just the same talent as Brits now… it is 2011 not 1999.

  99. Rei
    30 Nov 11
    3:26 pm

  100. Not sure where I stand on visa, immigration and taxation law, but it’s a pretty good political move to remove perks from people who can’t vote?

    On another note, I always wondered how my British colleagues could afford to pay an overseas mortgage and rent a cushy pad in the Eastern suburbs… now I know!

  101. Julia Hulia
    30 Nov 11
    3:27 pm

  102. Mr Burrowes, are you being a little Murdoch-like and using your editorial powers to promote an agenda that benefits you personally?

    Talk of an ‘exodus’ is nothing short of tabloid journalism. Hardly unexpected from a Brit Editor-in-chief!

    As others have commented, what have they got to go back to? A mis-managed economy on the brink of depression and a society where looting is seriously being considered as an Olympic sport.

    Stop your whinging poms. You’re lucky we don’t process you on Christmas island before you get let in.

  103. sam
    30 Nov 11
    3:30 pm

  104. Most of the people on these visas are on a pretty decent wicket anyway, it’s not like they’re struggling to get by. Welcome to the Sydney rental market fellas!

  105. Lee
    30 Nov 11
    3:30 pm

  106. Jimbob – You are a bell-end.

  107. Reginald Fitzhetherington-Windsor III
    30 Nov 11
    3:30 pm

  108. Oh blast, the other chaps and I won’t be able to afford our penthouses overlooking the harbour. And my landlady, bless her cotton socks, will be most displeased. She was so delighted at the open inspection when I trundled into the crowded lounge and offered 30% over market. The poor local-types were less than impressed and drifted away, heads hanging low. Not to worry. My 250k salary should be ample to help me find something a little more, how shall I say, proletarian. Especially now the little pumpkins child-minding costs will be bourne at full costs. Still, won’t be returning to the old blighty anytime soon!

  109. Steve_h
    30 Nov 11
    3:31 pm

  110. Lots of comments here on who is best at the job, and the “fact” that overseas staff are filling skilled vacancy shortages in the media and advertising industry.
    This is a complete fabrication, as anybody that has run a job ad will tell you, we are overwelmed with high quality local applications.
    The fact is that for years the industry mentality has been that staff from the UK are better than local staff – this generalisation is soooo wrong, I have worked with many of various disciplines and yes there are some good ones and lot’s of not so good.
    At least this new change will provide an even financial playing field, and if agency heads still believe they need overseas staff and are prepared to pay more, then the proof will be in the pudding.

  111. I'm outta here!
    30 Nov 11
    3:31 pm

  112. So many comments that reinforce the world view of Australia

  113. jacinta
    30 Nov 11
    3:32 pm

  114. GOOD. Now if only my annoying twat faced pommy neighbour is forced to leave the country and take his stupid permaculture bees nest with him (dude, Marrckville is not the bush and 2metres from my bedroom is not a good place to put a beehive). This is an excellent ruling. Why should one group of workers get such a big tax break and not others?

  115. Ann
    30 Nov 11
    3:33 pm

  116. About time.

  117. Jono
    30 Nov 11
    3:35 pm

  118. The question needs to be asked why are the Brits better at their jobs than the Aussies. Maybe the money gained from this tax change should go into training and education of the local talent

  119. Mikey White
    30 Nov 11
    3:37 pm

  120. This was originally introduced for the politicians who were shipped away from home to Canberra (compensation definately deserved!). Overseas workers come over here for the experience of working in Australia and the lifestyle that comes with it, not the tax break! My poor friends looking at a 40% hike in rent, owch! Oh well, they’ll have to find somewhere for $300 instead of $600 a week!

  121. what the...
    30 Nov 11
    3:40 pm

  122. Can’t get over the raw nerve this has clearly touched. I didn’t realise how many people are over these characters colonising our industry. Aussies….slow to anger but watch out when we have a head of steam!

  123. Amy
    30 Nov 11
    3:40 pm

  124. As a POM, it will be disappointing to lose LAFHA, I’ll admit it!!

    However, I would gladly give up LAFHA, become a resident and really be able to call this place home. Whilst being on a 457 I am not able to purchase property or properly settle.

    I am reliant on my company to stay here and have 28 days to leave the country and up root myself if things go wrong.

    I love living in Australia, but I also work extremely hard in a job that, for some reason, Aussies don’t want or cant do as well. Which is why I am employed.

    Whilst I am on a temporary visa, I can’t see how that is a “rort” or “dodging the system”. I know most POM’s would be happy to give up LAFHA to really be able to build a life here, keep spending and bringing tourists over for their holidays!

  125. Lawsie
    30 Nov 11
    3:46 pm

  126. Why would anyone in there right mind want to go back. “They are living the dream” I dont get LAHFA and i dont want to go and live anywhere else. Honestly , this is a loophole that wasnot set up to give Overseas workers a leg up here. It actually seems to have casued more problems to the economy with wages and rent then it was intended to do.
    Pretend you are the government , which workers/voters/taxpayers do you want to prosper more. I hear this overseas experience can be good for a job applicant , but are australians that inept at what they do ? I would argue that thier is a shortage of people , not talent or skills. Australia’s economy has grown exponentially due to the resources and farmers since colonisation and it looks good for the future.
    The same cant be said about Europe.
    I bet they dont leave and talented people keep coming.

  127. Blue
    30 Nov 11
    3:49 pm

  128. Cripes, plenty of anti-English sentiment there.
    1. Most Aussies I know in the UK use similar tax-breaks. Working as a limited company etc.
    2. I absolutely believe that LAFHA has been of tangible benefit to the Australian economy (certainly I’m not saving wedges of cash into a British bank account at the moment) and we bring skills over here that have contributed plenty to Australia’s competitiveness, particularly online where it’s still some way behind (Oooh, look! Australia’s biggest Electrical retailer now has a website! in 2011!)
    3. It’s not like people on LAFHA are now going to vote against Labor, because we can’t vote anyway. I actually wanted citizenship specifically to vote against Tony Abbott. Not so much any more.
    4. I don’t find the anti-English sentiment (or the alleged anti-Aussie sentiment from Brits over here) to have much basis in reality in the real world. Like so many things, blown out of all proportion and much ruder on the internet than in real life.

  129. ANOM
    30 Nov 11
    3:51 pm

  130. People – If we seriously think that this change to LAFHA will see an exodus of POMS leaving these shores then your are badly mistaken. Yes LAFHA is a plus, I had it for 2 years and it was great but it didn’t mean I was living in a ridicuoulsy expensive place in the East, it did mean I could pump this money back into the economy though which surely is only a positive thing.

    Most of us Brits more over for a different lifestyle and see it as an opportunity to carry on in the same industry we have spent 10 years+ in and see what happens. The benefit was set up by the Government, not by poms so please stop shouting about it, it’s boring really!

    Jobs for the boys – no chance, jobs for the best qualified candidates, absolutely. As they say ‘Get over it!’

  131. time keeper
    30 Nov 11
    3:51 pm

  132. the rental market is about to explode in bondi/tama…now just to figure out to send the kiwis back

  133. Mick
    30 Nov 11
    3:54 pm

  134. Nice one jimbob. I’ve never heard of this rort before but it certainly explains why Sydney is now known as “Little Britain”. The poms are not all highly skilled senior management, they have also infested the media sales and ad recruitment sectors. In my experience most geysers living here are either economic, climate and or class refugees who couldn’t make a go of it at home because they didn’t go to the right school. Pukkah!

  135. Chris
    30 Nov 11
    4:01 pm

  136. Yes… there are heaps of poms her. But for those who have done the reverse and uprooted to work in the UK, you would know that there are heaps of us Aussies working the UK circuit. It is not that UK or Aussie or US staff are better, it is more that people who have uprooted to travel and experience life in another place tend to have their eyes open wide and posses an adventurous outlook.
    Having said that, there are many poms here which i consider to be close friends. Some are great at what they do, while others blag their way through their job and their deliverable. But what rings as constant truism, is that they are all hungover more often than their Australian counterparts.

  137. DT
    30 Nov 11
    4:09 pm

  138. I worked in the media industry in the UK for 7 years … there were no tax breaks for us Aussies over there so why should there be tax breaks for Brits here? Australians are just as educated, experienced and talented as the British, I don’t believe for a second the media industry in Australia will suffer without British input. I also don’t think this is going to make all of the Brits jump ship and leave the country. Surely they live in Australia because they choose to and want to, not just because of tax breaks.

  139. JayZ
    30 Nov 11
    4:13 pm

  140. About bloody time!

    Sick of seeing all these Poms on a jolly living it up at the expense of the local taxpayer. If you don’t like it, you know what to do.

  141. I like the Brits, honestly...
    30 Nov 11
    4:17 pm

  142. Such a shame there’s no like buttons on these comments – there are some beauties in here!

    I think Gonna Be Skint has the right balance – a short-term incentive for the first two years, then forced Permanent Residency and a return to normal tax conditions.

    I don’t blame people for gloating – hell in their shoes I’d be doing the same – but widespread rorting of the system has placed it on the radar of this Government which is frantically trying to balance the budget come hell or high water (a ridiculous committment in the current global economic environment but that’s a whole other debate)

    And for those like Gezza getting a head full of steam and demanding the closure of similar loopholes like negative gearing – go easy tiger. You think rents are expensive now – watch what happens when that investment properly suddenly loses its tax exemption value…

  143. Mick
    30 Nov 11
    4:21 pm

  144. The difference between Aussies working in Britain and Poms working here is that the Aussies are only there temporarily and always go home – they are rarely migrants.

  145. DG
    30 Nov 11
    4:21 pm

  146. As a former CFO of local multi national Advertising Agencies for too many years to remember, I can tell you that this benefit was widely used by agencies to attract overseas staff when local staff were not available or were indeed more expensive.

    Two problems with LAFHA – a) the period – 4 years – this was way too generous and b) LAFHA was predicated on the premise that the employee intended to return home at the end of the period. This was a question of fact and based on circumstance proving your intention to return home eg owning property overseas etc. The problem was the benefit was exploited with individuals continuing to claim it , when their circumstances had changed for eg getting married to an Australian, having children, buying property etc.

    I knew of recruitment agencies that were actively recruiting staff and offerring them LAFHA when they were not eligible and contracting them.

    I am not surprised the Government has finally woken up to the rort ce la vie!

  147. Beachboy
    30 Nov 11
    4:23 pm

  148. Who will now be on the morning ferry from Manly I wonder?

  149. Lawsie
    30 Nov 11
    4:23 pm

  150. @ julia Hulia – Too funny

  151. Chatsworth Devonshire Fotheringham-Smythe
    30 Nov 11
    4:27 pm

  152. It looks like I’ll have to put off one of my pastry-cooks now! Dammit, can’t a man have a biscuit!

  153. Amy
    30 Nov 11
    4:36 pm

  154. Can I also point out, it’s not just the English that have been entitled to this benefit! But there is no Kiwi/American/Canadian/German bashing going on.

    Where is the love!!

  155. Glad I dont work in media anymore
    30 Nov 11
    4:38 pm

  156. I’m outta here!- “expats laugh because they know that most of them will go home and leave the industry to fester in mediocrity.”

    Nice… well if you expats are all so bloody “skilled” surely the industry should be above mediocre with your sterling input? No?

    I saw one Managing Director employ more and more of his mates from “back ‘ome” in ridiculous trumped up roles and inflated salaries, all on 467s, all living in huge Eastern Suburbs houses, all idiots who added no value to the business what-so-ever.

    I particularly love all the Poms (and why is it always Poms? I don’t know any Americans/Canadians/Asians who are working the system in quite the same manner) that come over as skilled workers (half of them don’t even have a degree so not sure where they get their perceived skills from) take up most of the quota of Skilled Worker Citizenship allocations then piss off back to the motherland after a couple of years.

    Is the UK Education system that much better? Half the English people I know can’t spell and have an appalling grasp on grammar and speech.

  157. Andrew
    30 Nov 11
    4:42 pm

  158. I actually know many Australian bankers earning millions (and ad people earning a lot less…) who were getting it after retuning from London, New York and HK.

    All they had to argue was that they were based overseas and say they were returning. So not just the Poms chasing in…

    A massive rort for rich Aussies too.

    Occupy Fairness.

  159. Koala Ken
    30 Nov 11
    4:42 pm

  160. You are all going to have to earn an honest crust like the rest of us now ! Half of you wrought the system anyway, we all know that you really don’t want to go home…haha

  161. Pommie Recruitment Boy
    30 Nov 11
    4:43 pm

  162. ha ha great thread … you’ve gotta love the xenophobic comments from the aussies …

    “ah yeah mate, bloody poms taking all our jobs !”

    you know who you sound like don’t you ?? … I’ll give you a clue … his first name was Adolf …

  163. Mick
    30 Nov 11
    4:52 pm

  164. Mark
    30 Nov 11
    4:57 pm

  165. ha ha – it’s a self regulated industry which should also be 100% self funded.

    Some good talent came as a result, great, but it couldn’t last forever. Some will stay, others not…did anyone expect these visa’s to be around forever?

  166. Jess
    30 Nov 11
    5:03 pm

  167. Wow, mumbrella have stooped so low that the inevitable Youtube ‘You’re Hitler’ comments have started. Everyone just relax.

  168. Tom
    30 Nov 11
    5:03 pm

  169. C’mon, the Poms bait and goad Aussies over in London.
    Yet y’all get so sensitive when it’s done to you over here.
    If you can’t take it, don’t dish it.

    Grow A) a sense of humour, and B) a backbone.

  170. Ricki
    30 Nov 11
    5:08 pm

  171. Jeez…lots of callouts for the Whaaaaaaambulance today.

    “If I lose my job I only get 28 days to sort things out and leave….”

    And if you go work in the US, its ten days…ten days before you’re an illegal overstayer. There, the equivalent work visa has the well deserved nickname of “the indentured servitude visa”. Oh yeah, and no tax breaks.

    If you want the experience and the lifestyle that comes with it, those are the risks you take.

  172. Nath
    30 Nov 11
    5:14 pm

  173. I was under the impression that LAFHA was paid to recruit talent to the Australian market on the presumption that you were living away from home that you would eventually return to.

    So if you then chose to become a resident or citizen should you not be forced to repay this?

  174. Bob
    30 Nov 11
    5:22 pm

  175. About time – once we start hiring Australians again we will have a talent pool. If you exclude the agency pom comments I think the thread is positive for the change. Frankly it’s crap that they get more perks as well which is most likely why they are such a arrogant bunch.

  176. David Watts
    30 Nov 11
    5:27 pm

  177. Interesting – Mediacom weren’t winning much until Toby Jenner came over….OMD were top dogs in town when James Greet was in charge and he is going about his business nicely at Mindshare (who were not breaking world records prior). Just a couple to mention…There are many, many more…But will also admit there a quite a few who are living the dream over here, helped by the LAFHA who are not that great.

    Fact is that London is a far larger and far more competitive media market than Australia, due to the size of the country, the proximity to Europe and the links to America. The UK has always been seen as a market leader in many aspects of media and although the gaps are closing, ask any recently employed “Pom” in your agency about the work and they would probably say that the UK is still a bit ahead of Australia.

    Obviously there is good Australian talent, bound to be, probably not as much because of the shear size of the UK market and the investment they make in training etc. But whereever you work there are good uns and Bad uns…

    As I have said on a previous post, there are loads of Aussies living in London who are employed by offshore companies who pay 3% tax doing the same thing….

    What effect it will have? Might be a problem recruiting initially, but as for an exodus? those who have been here 2 years plus are probably thinking about PR and losing LAFHA anyway, they will probably just speed up the process…

  178. BitchDigital
    30 Nov 11
    5:30 pm

  179. Shame on both sides.
    Shame on the Aussies that laugh at the thought of the poms heading home.
    Shame on the English for suggesting there’s no talent in Australia.
    None of your comments represent me. Hate hate hate. Let me know where you all drink so I can avoid getting glassed.

  180. Sally
    30 Nov 11
    5:33 pm

  181. Wow – what xenophobia…and did anyone notice the really poor grammar/spelling in most of the posts from Aussies compared with Poms 😉

    And, it’s an Aussie tax break that’s legitimate, no one’s fiddling the system. By all means tighten it but don’t tell me that if Aussies in the UK had the same opportunity they wouldn’t take it up.

  182. dannyboi
    30 Nov 11
    5:42 pm

  183. the Poms are here for the weather and our golden lifestyle. they’ll stay regardless

  184. Paul
    30 Nov 11
    5:48 pm

  185. Good. The biggest lie we ever hear is the “skills shortage”. Maybe managers will now consider hiring people who are over 45 There sure as anything are lots of people “on the bench” who cant get beyond recruiters thinking about their father or mother when they look at older candidates …..

    “Cultural fit” should now mean Australian, not “someone undeer 35 please… even if they are an import.”

    And 20 years ago I used to be English, by the way. I actually emigrated, rather than posed as an “expat”. Glad to be an Aussie now.

  186. B
    30 Nov 11
    5:58 pm

  187. Haha Hilarious. Go home Mexicans! Leave our country. Dirty lying Mexicans! Am I in the US?

  188. Tony cries
    30 Nov 11
    6:12 pm

  189. This is better than the cricket.

  190. Blue
    30 Nov 11
    6:24 pm

  191. How about really clamping down on a media industry tax dodge that costs the taxpayer substantially more than LAFHA, and benefits no Australians at all?
    The $741m per year estimate for Google AU’s revenue is laughably low and out of date too. And they made a $1m loss here in Aus? Pffft.

    Like it or not, these changes to LAFHA will have negative impacts on more people in the Australian media industry than positive ones. It’s important for mUmbrella to cover, and a worrying day for many readers of this page. Clearly an emotive issue. I’m gutted. It’s going to mean a big pay cut, and either a change of job or some hardball negotiation. For the foreigners there’s a clear loss. For the Aussies? A potential one. I’d argue it’ll be negative for the industry, but there you go. It’s a bad day for a big chunk of the Aussie media scene, and only possibly a marginally good one for most of the rest, so cut us some slack rather than the gloating.

    If you’re going to encourage immigration (temporary or permanent) to this fine country, then you might as well encourage those who are skilled, and contribute to the economy. LAFHA has been an excellent way of doing this. A subsidy to ensure I’m a committed member of the workplace (rather than one saving up for two years to go back home and staying there) is a pretty decent investment in the future tax dollars I’m likely to pay if I do decide to stay here. Asylum seekers don’t need much convincing that life will be better for them in Australia. The skilled workers from the UK may well benefit from a little enticement to make that first step over here. And we *do* need to be skilled, we will pay plenty in taxes over our lives, contribute to the economy, and I’d wager not claim much in net benefits from the taxpayer. is a half decent read.

    For those using the “coming over here, taking our jobs” line, FFS grow up and do some research about immigration and geographic mobility. You sound like Alf Garnett. A person with views from the 1960’s and now only found in the Daily Mail letters section in the UK.

    Again, for what it’s worth the rabid, verging on xenophobic comments I’m reading above are not at all representative of 99% of what I experience while living and working here in Australia. I’ve never ceased to be amazed at most Aussie’s openness, friendliness to me as a Pom (at work and outside) and not banging on about cricket too much. Mind, this last bit might have a lot to do with recent results, as much as anything.

  192. Fair is Fair
    30 Nov 11
    6:37 pm

  193. @Sally – xenophobia? I find your last comment rather Xenopobic (assuming the nationality of anonymous post.

    I am Australian and support LAFHA as a means to fill a skills shortage with O/S or interstate workers. I do also agree with an earlier post, this should be for a finite period of time. Not something that continues for several years and creates an unfair playing field.


  194. HarrietS
    30 Nov 11
    6:49 pm

  195. Why are we relying on expats and not training locals to do the job? Australian employers had (when I was studying management a decade ago) the worst record for orienting / training / supporting staff to develop their skills in the OECD. It’s time they woke up and supported locals to gain the necessary skills.

  196. Billy Baggs
    30 Nov 11
    7:02 pm

  197. A positive move but needs additional Gov support via programs to skill workers.

    On the whole I have never found the UK talent at agencies to be very competent anyway.

  198. Pom Auditor
    30 Nov 11
    7:08 pm

  199. As someone who works in the audit profession in Sydney I can tell you that around 50% of post-qualified staff are from overseas and have at some point earned LAFHA. The majority of them are now either PR or citizens and paying taxes like anyone else – thus Australia has gained some highly skilled staff members in jobs that would be struggled to get filled by Aussies.

    This benefit serves to increase the attraction of working in Australia for those with the appropriate skill sets that are in demand. I think there is a misconception over the quality of Australian workers – in my profession it’s the quantity. Many Aussies will qualify and head straight out of practice and into other roles – the lure of LAFHA helps bring across skilled people from overseas.

    Also – those who are over for ‘a good time, not a long time’ are just pumping money back into the local economy and creating jobs elsewhere. The benefit gets taken away and half of people will head back to Europe or go to Singapore. At the end of the day it’s the high-paid execs claiming $4,000k pw allowances that spoil it for everyone, not the average joe on $100k claiming $600-$700pw. All for restrictions on exploitation of the benefit but it’d be a huge mistake to take it away entirely.

  200. Paige Turner
    30 Nov 11
    7:25 pm

  201. The advertising ashes anybody?

  202. Paige Turner
    30 Nov 11
    7:28 pm

  203. It would also be fair to say most of our advertising innovations come from many countries not just the UK.

  204. Hunter
    30 Nov 11
    7:50 pm

  205. if all the brit chics go, where will we get easy drunken roots?

  206. Typicalwhingingaussies
    30 Nov 11
    8:00 pm

  207. If only the whinging aussies on this thread bothered to do some research…

    LAFHA was created by politicians in Canberra because they felt it was unfair that they should have to pay for a house in Canberra as well as in their home constituency. Fair enough, most would say. In the interests of fairness and in order not to be accused of rorting the system, they had to ensure that LAFHA applied to everyone else who is employed away from their usual place of residence. A person from WA who is employed in Sydney is also entitled to LAFHA in the same way that a person who is offered a job whose residence happens to be in the UK, Canada, USA, Outer Mongolia, wherever should be entitled to LAFHA.

    They are filling jobs that cannot be filled by Australians…and need an incentive to up sticks and move half way across the world to pay extortionate prices for just about everything while being made to feel unwelcome by the people they are supposed to be helping.

    So whinging Aussies, which would you rather…another terrible pom, over here, contributing to society, paying taxes, spending their earnings at local businesses, improving the country…or a vacancy that can’t be filled and so current staff are forced to work even longer hours to cover the shortfall.

    The loss of LAFHA will hit small businesses very hard and likely rents in the Eastern suburbs will fall. Very shortsighted black and white calculations by the treasury that fails to take into account the benefits that LAFHA actually brings.

    As usual, racist nationalist aussies can’t see passed the corks on their hats.

    (PS I am a true blue Aussie)

  208. Kate
    30 Nov 11
    8:58 pm

  209. First off, it was the Australian government that introduced this tax break.

    Secondly it was Australian companies that offered it to foreign employers.

    Finally, if a foreign country such as the UK offered it to immigrant workers, would you not accept it?

  210. Tiki Godzilla
    30 Nov 11
    9:24 pm

  211. So let me get this right; australians are “racist” and “xenophobic” because we dont think taxpayers should pay 40% of the rent of already high earning foreign ex-pats? Riiiight.

    LAHFA is/was an unfair advantage. Maybe you poms should realise that Australia is an egalitarian society and that an arrogant, entitled attitude is going to rub us up the wrong way. Enjoy paying market rates like the rest of everyone else you sooks!

  212. Opinion
    30 Nov 11
    10:08 pm

  213. I can see why the change is coming but seeing people say Aussie jobs for Aussies is shockingly sad, same as seeing ‘pom’ everywhere is these comments.
    You should realise there are huge processes for companies to sponsor overseas workers so to imply that it’s easier to employ overseas workers because they’re cheap is wrong, companies pay legal fees for the process because they need the best staff

  214. Like
    30 Nov 11
    10:19 pm

  215. It’s a shame you can’t like some of these comments as Neil, mitchy, matty, what the…, cash is king, and tony Simms have all summed it up perfectly.

  216. White Riot
    30 Nov 11
    10:25 pm

  217. Love it…the best thing to come out of the UK was a gorgeous girl named Kate and Punk music! (both decades ago!)

  218. Priti
    30 Nov 11
    11:33 pm

  219. Wow I had absolutely no idea there was so much racial tension between these two groups. Working in the industry I think the legislative changes are fair and part of a considered tax reform/ ‘no votes lost’ strategy but to draw conclusions about the (lack of) skills and capabilities of Australians or the immoral intentions of British workers is rather ludicrous. How revealing.

  220. Typicalwhingingaussies
    30 Nov 11
    11:35 pm

  221. Yes tiki, an inherently racist country – while the media industry languishes 5+ years behind the uk etc, unfortunately attitudes to other nationalities and the good they bring is about 30 years behind… Sad but true. You seem to have missed the whole point though – the tax break was introduced by polticians in Canberra and is available to all… Australians included; like you say egalitarian. Per your own argument, if it is available to Australian workers / tax payers, it is only fair that it be available to foreign workers / tax payers (especially as they are filling roles that Aussies can’t… I.e. Helping the economy. I get so disappointed by fellow aussies going down the route of the “Coming here, stealing our jobs” attitude. Surely in this day and age of multi-nationalism and globalization, it is time to open the doors and welcome people in who are going to help stregthen the economy. Moan about the high paying execs claiming 4,000 a week etc but that money is being spent in Australia. Drives me mad the narrow mindedness… No wonder the Poms stick to their own, generally having travelled to other countries and learnt to accept other cultures only to be met with our somewhat lukewarm welcome.

  222. 'pom' de plume
    30 Nov 11
    11:42 pm

  223. A personal opinion, but I think many people of the foreign advertising crew come to Australia because they love Aus for a lot of what the UK isn’t. Australia inspires them to be better people, it represents something – be it a sense of freedom from hierarchy, a healthier lifestyle, a greater respect for themselves and society, whatever – that they don’t see happening for them in the UK. It’s not about the money – LAFHA was just the bit of cream (or the extra beer).

    For those in the creative and media industries who thrive on positive emotion, they can’t help but put more into their work and careers if they are happier people, and we all know POMS who have started big things here, more here than they ever would have back home – directly helping the AU advertising industry.

    It’s right that Aussies and 457’s sitting together should be equally paid (and, equally medicare’d whilst you’re at it please) so LAFHA removes this imbalance.

    For shame tho that most of the anti-POM sentiment on this board from Aussies is directed out of perceived rent inflation and some obvious bitterness – that’s the kind of personal selfishness and negativity that many people chose to come to Australia to leave behind and look to Australia to be the bigger country about it all.

    In time I hope the colony does a reverse takeover on the empire (and reverses the insidiously creeping anti-Anglo sentiment), but in the meanwhile maybe both the LAFHA-lovers and [some] of the Aussies above should be a little more self-less and appreciate what we’ve got and the great combination we bring together.

  224. CrotchChop
    1 Dec 11
    12:41 am

  225. Aaah finally! I have had plenty of Brit mates who clearly abused LAFHA and had a good time with it. And sure, it was annoying when dudes with a year experience (or two) at a lower level in UK would be promoted over me (I had 4 years in the company at the time and 8 in advtg/media overall).

    I had ticked all the boxes (brought in revenue, increased client pool, did kickass work, exceeded targets etc) and would always be overlooked even when applying at other jobs for some 25 year old Brit dude with six months trafficking experience or such.

    But then again, I am Indian; so I doubt my situation will change with this. Probably will have to endure bad impersonations of the ‘Apu’ accent on a more frequent basis. Will miss you Brits/Poms for the compatible sense of humour and the global cultural outlook.

  226. SteveS
    1 Dec 11
    12:47 am

  227. Wow…what a read. With the way the UK and Europe are headed at the moment, can’t say that there would be too many companies willing to lift their investment in advertising and media spend at the moment, and for the forseeable future. Not the most attractive place to head back to, plus, the salaries are generally lower compared to the cost of living than what they are here. Also, I think there are a lot of people blowing hot air up their a*ses if they believe you have to be that talented or skilled to be considered successful in the marketing/advertising/media game. These people are really in a state of delusion as to how much skill is really involved.

  228. blahhh
    1 Dec 11
    7:56 am

  229. It’s simple….contribute to the country or bugger off. No more government sponsored OEs. You’re welcome to stay by becoming a resident….if you qualify.

  230. Sam V
    1 Dec 11
    8:26 am

  231. What a load of sensationalist rubbish. “Exodus”? Not likely.

    There are numerous factors that will keep attracting overseas talent to Australia: a strong currency (for the Poms, try getting paid the equivalent in GBP back home), a stable economy with low unemployment, great weather and beaches, the list goes on.

    LAFA has two key disadvantages for Australians: 1) rental prices being propped up by overseas workers who pay rent out of their pre-tax salary (effective giving them a 40%+ discount in some instances); and 2) agencies can get away with paying an employee on LAFA less than they would need to pay a local e.g. if you are on LAFA and getting paid $150K, you have the same nett income as a non-LAFA employee on $180K.

    It’s not a ‘rort’, but an unfair tax break that was relevant when the Australian dollar was 3:1 with the GBP. There are more than enough financial incentives to keep overseas talent attracted to Australia. Particularly as Europe financially implodes over the coming 12 months.

  232. Sravan Kumar
    1 Dec 11
    8:52 am

  233. Good joke….the country needs to understand that it is not USA where people don’t mind low salaries initially for opportunities later. It is more closer to resource rich Saudi Arabia where the main incentive to live and work is the tax-free income.
    Unless expats look at a long term view of living in Australia , short term highly talented professionals will look for better pastures……Any way do we need highly talented pros in this outback….
    The good side is rentals will fall…house prices will also fall as people buying for rental income will take a hard look……
    NSW / ACT will be hit hard as families already have to pay for public school fees and now the reduction in net income will put stress.

    Thank you Swan….Good job in making your ends meet at the cost of others….

  234. Cash is King
    1 Dec 11
    9:11 am

  235. @Sam V , you could have save yourself the effort and just copied and pasted my earlier comments :-)

  236. JC
    1 Dec 11
    9:31 am

  237. GOOD!!!

    Why should we subsidise foreigners? I’m sure many readers have worked overseas on similar visas (I’ve worked in the UK and US), and bloody sure we didn’t get those perks. I have no problems with foreigners working here; though they should be treated exactly the same as Aussie workers, and pay their dues just like the locals.

    It definitely explains why OS workers can afford to live in the posh suburbs . . .

  238. Buddha
    1 Dec 11
    9:57 am

  239. Sorry to sound xenaphobic and a hyprocrite in the same post, but as someone in a media sector affected by the influx of overseas staff (mainly from UK), I am glad this tax break has been canned.

    Having worked in the UK for 2 years, I was not suprised that there were very few if any Aussies in top jobs in the media, compared to here. The UK people at employee level as a whole were fine with us Aussies. I was however, told several times that I would never go on up the ladder all the way because “you aren’t one of us and so how could you know what our market wants culturally?”.

    I do have a problem here now as I see companies recruiting and sponsoring mainly UK executives and other senior staff at the expense of Aussies – at the same time running no internal company training for locals whatsoever and reducing the head count of long service older employees.

    One major company here in our sector is now known as ‘little Britain’. From working with some of the imports I come across these days, the same question I listed earlier could reasonably be asked of them and the employers who brought them here?

    Then there are the ones who come here who are straight out frauds, trading on the ‘experience in UK – must be good’ syndrome. In several cases, I’ve seen people who were in quite low & inexperienced positions in the UK come her and blag their way into much higher positions, with nobody apparantly doing any due diligence on them.

    I once shared an office with an (admittedly talented) high profile (now even higher) UK import who was actively recruiting and arranging sponsorship for her friends to come over here to “have a ball, party all the time and earn good money in the great weather, darling”. It made me sick.

    So if this change to the tax law does eventually thin some out of the ranks of expats in the sector of media I’m in – I will not be sad to see that type of expat go back.

  240. AC
    1 Dec 11
    9:57 am

  241. On the point of “Brits are more talented than Aussies”, there is a known factor in social psychology called Paired Distinctiveness that could have some people wrongly believing Aussies don’t measure up as much.

    The relative rarity of” a Brit”, paired with the relative rarity of “a great talent”, has in the case of research proven that people are likely to over-estimate the incidence of, in this case, “talented Brits”.

    In favour of the Brits I would say that some of them do bring a stronger history and richness of exposure to clever techniques, processes, mentored principles, and general modus operandi, which could be missed.

    However, and keeping on the most important point here, we have what we need coming from asian people from asia in this asian country located in asia pacific.

    A very, very, very good habit in recruitment these days and moving forward is giving someone a call without pre-judging based on the spelling of their surname.


  242. B-dos
    1 Dec 11
    10:24 am

  243. I don’t think ya’ll understand the impact this will have on your lives as Australian workers. If the business you work for has to pay more taxes and higher wages because there is no LAFHA then that leaves less money to hire more Australian workers or give raises to the current Australian workers.

    I just got my 457 visa and just started using LAFHA. I get paid the lowest amount possible for my employer to abide by the 457 rules. Without LAFHA I have to really scrimp and save every penny to be able to live a normal life. I even have to pay for private healthcare out of my own pocket. I intend to go home someday; therefore why should I have to pay taxes to the Australian government as well as my native country?

  244. Jörn Sanda
    1 Dec 11
    11:00 am

  245. That’s a real shame. Loved visiting my POM mates’ rental homes where they enjoy sweeping water views, calf-hide leather furniture, caviar on cake washed down with champagne for breakfast, and diamond pebbles on the balcony.

    As for the Brits not coming because LAFHA’s cancelled. Hmmm – anyone been reading the news about Europe and how the economy is going there? And anyone notice how good life is in Australia, despite paying top tax rates?

    I did benefit from LAFHA for a short while – which I did consider a bit of a bonus. But I liked this place so much I bought a house and with that was home. Thanks for letting me stay Australia, and allowing me to become one of you.

  246. DS
    1 Dec 11
    11:02 am

  247. LAFHA is a perk obviously, but Brits get taxed 60% on their super when they leave.

  248. anonymouswanker
    1 Dec 11
    11:03 am

  249. Having worked with agencies across Europe fro many years I must say that the poms certainly excel in a lot of areas. Sadly few of these areas have anything to do with delivering quality outcomes for clients and or the agency bottom line.

  250. Max
    1 Dec 11
    11:09 am

  251. Agree with others here.

    The current system as it applies to foreign Nationals is a total rort and is unfair on hard working Australian nationals.

    I don’t support labour, but I agree that this is a very good move and will stop the inequality between locals and ex pats.

    For those here currently on TR LAFHA – you should be grateful that you’ve had it so good for so long!

    Watch those rents at Cremorne Point come tumbling down……………..

  252. Lee
    1 Dec 11
    11:31 am

  253. After reading some of these comments it’s clear to see that a majority of Australians are jealous and somewhat bitter towards us “Poms”. I don’t see you aiming your anger at those from NZ and other parts of Europe that are currently on a LAFHA. Us British are in demand over here simply due to the fact that we are very good at what we do otherwise why would we get head-hunted from the UK? It makes no big deal to me losing my LAFHA as I’m earning more than enough to live. I don’t think you’ll see an exodus of “Poms” at all – quite the opposite in-fact. Chill out guys, relax and think about what you are saying.

  254. Anonymous
    1 Dec 11
    11:42 am

  255. the only disappointing thing about this article, is the narrow minded comments from both british & australians following it.

  256. Anonymous
    1 Dec 11
    11:46 am

  257. besides, I don’t think it’s a case of importing ‘better’ skilled people, but more ‘diversely’ skilled people, as being a recruiter, I can tell you the talent pool will become more incestuous than the australian royal family.

  258. Prince Philip
    1 Dec 11
    11:50 am

  259. Well you can all go bugger off out of our country too then, I’m frightfully tired of getting served by monotone surfer types at the Walkabout.

  260. Rory
    1 Dec 11
    11:51 am

  261. As a family that came here from overseas and gets the benefits of LAFHA please note, Australian residents get a rebate of up to 50% rebate in daycare fees, which working migrants do not. So we pay $171 per day for two kids. That is a $1752pm saving Permanent residents get which all but negates the rental benefit.

    I would hope Australians would not see us as feeding off the system; we rent, buy food, luxuries (2 new cars, furniture etc.) all which I hope helps in a small way to feed the economy, and keep this the beautiful & lucky country it is.

  262. Rob
    1 Dec 11
    11:59 am

  263. I’m upset … I claimed LAFHA for 2 years and then became ‘a fully fledged Aussie’ for tax reasons. Even married one.

    That means I ended up missing out on 7 years of extra cash.


    Too right the loophole should be closed, if I’ve not prospered longterm I don’t see why anyone else should.

  264. Jason Scott
    1 Dec 11
    12:00 pm

  265. I benifited form LAFHA for 11 years. My cars are paid off and my kids are enjoying Scots. PR application will be in on July2. I guess its time put my name on the property rather than renting from my wife who is an Aussie. Hey ho..we still won the Ashes

  266. Anonymous
    1 Dec 11
    12:17 pm

  267. Why on earth do australian’s think that rents will come tumbling down, and good luck finding somewhere to live in sydney and all that tosh? we give your lafha back to you, and then some, by propping up your bar & entertainment industry, & generally enjoying your cities.

    Very small minded from Swan, it’s like he can’t be bothered to work it out, punish those who abuse the system (normally it’s the AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES that are abusing the system anyway), and make the whole process fairer to everyone.

    We want to come here & work, & it is an upheaval when headhunted from London, Jo’Burg, Toronto or Auckland, & we’re damn well worth it!

  268. bob holness
    1 Dec 11
    1:22 pm

  269. I reckon negative gearing on property would contribute far more to high property prices and therefore required rental yields than Lafha. Anyone got any facts or figures?

    I agree with a lot of the thoughts, if not some of the racist undertones apparent in the delivery (from all sides BTW).

    Please be a good citizen, do the right thing, and contribute your dues to this great society. Australia is a great place and the “locals” rightly are proud of it. They don’t want free loaders or hanger on’s. And lots of “migrants” have made huge sacrifices to move here for a better life. My family will become your next generation, and I’m probably like your grand parents / parents by virtue of chosing to come here. Can’t we just hug it out?

  270. HaHa
    1 Dec 11
    1:23 pm

  271. Say good bye to your house values Aussies 80% of where I live are on LAFHA and we all pay crazy rent which benifits landlords and banks. This artificially inflates an already over inflated housing market so be prepared for your net worth to decline by 30%. No way an apartment in Sydney should cost more than New York or London. Welcome to the great depression of 2012, enjoy. Thanks Julia

  272. Brilliant
    1 Dec 11
    1:30 pm

  273. This is brilliant.

    Australians are like small mechanical toys… Wind them up and watch them go!

  274. Aussies = POMS
    1 Dec 11
    2:08 pm

  275. Did you know that the definition POHM (or POME) stood for Prisoner of Her Majesty (or Prisoner of Mother England) and it was applied to those shipped out to Australia during the 18th and 19th centuries. It has since been shortened to POM.

    It is those people who founded the non-indiginous Australian population and are therefore Australians.

    Ironically, and quite amusingly, when Aussies whinge about ‘whinging poms’ they are actually whinging about themselves.

    Explains a lot really.

  276. Tony Simms
    1 Dec 11
    2:21 pm

  277. My blood is boiling!

    I have just had a phone interview with someone from the shallow end of the gene pool regarding a very senior role. They said that they have noticed that I have no UK experience and this could be an issue.

    It seems that over 20 years local experience is of absolutely no value at all
    without UK experience.

    It is tough enough finding a role over the age of 40 facing blatent age discrimination where experience is scoffed at and ignored. I was also
    told that there were some concerns that my seniority would not be a good cultural fit with a young team.

    Worse still is being openly and blatently discriminated against in my own country
    because I just happened to have stuck around and contributed to the industry.

    It seems in this case that my experience and nationality are both a crime!

  278. Lee
    1 Dec 11
    2:40 pm

  279. Tony you sound like you are going to cry.

  280. Doug
    1 Dec 11
    3:16 pm

  281. Hey Lee , 1 Dec 11, 11:31 am

    You said “… otherwise why would we get head-hunted from the UK?…” I’ll tell you why… the recruitment business is run by UK expats. The system is set up almost as a conduit to favour people from UK over other nationalities. Recruitment agencies are a joke… because of this and other reasons (but that is a whole other soap box)

  282. Same Same but Different
    1 Dec 11
    3:17 pm

  283. Tony, yesterday I was knocked back for a job because I was “overqualified” – that was the euphemism for no old c*nts need apply – and yes, there are many other wonderful weasel words used to describe this particular from of discrimination. I therefore think the “no UK experience” is just another excuse, another euphemism… (funny word that, should be yoofemism)… so how about we collect them all and file under ageism? Anyone care to nominate some other good brush off’s??

  284. RB
    1 Dec 11
    3:31 pm

  285. I fear that people are missing the point. This isn’t an Aussie/Pom thing. This is about being in Asia and competing within our geography. I have spent the last year trying to hire people into the finance industry and despite extolling the virtues of the lifestyle, beaches, great food, lafha and wonderful open and friendly people; it is still extremely challenging to attract people here versus Hong Kong and Singapore’s 15-20% tax rate. This won’t see a wholescale move offshore, but any ambitions Australia has of being a significant financial centre have just been dealt a massive blow. Australia will of course control its own domestic financial markets, but the uphill struggle to been seen as a global hub are unquestionable.

  286. Lee
    1 Dec 11
    3:43 pm

  287. Doug – Would you like a tissue? You sound as if you too are crying like a baby. Maybe you and Tony know one another?

  288. Cash is King
    1 Dec 11
    3:56 pm

  289. @RB
    I would argue we once has aspirations of being a global financial hub (many moons back), however I feel the motivation and ability is long gone. From my own view it was always a pipe dream, a dream based on a distorted view of our position in Asia. I am not convinced becoming a regional hub is all that it is cracked up to be.

    Great places to live and work globally that are not regional hubs imo are

    San Francisco
    et al

    Of all the ‘regional’ hubs the only one I would go back to live is New York. All the others I can take or leave them. Love to visit but that is about it. You have to look at what happens to places when they become hubs or border towns, very similar outcomes that look different on the surface.

  290. Cynic
    1 Dec 11
    4:03 pm

  291. There has been more response to this subject than any other I have sen here.

    And they say the advertising industry are self-obsessed???

  292. Gezza
    1 Dec 11
    4:07 pm

  293. @ Tony: “Infamy. infamy. They’ve all got it in for me.” ( Kenneth Williams – a famous Pom)

  294. Gezza
    1 Dec 11
    4:26 pm

  295. Rex
    1 Dec 11
    4:33 pm

  296. Let’s face it, this so called rort (god I hate that word) has so often been used by companies to seal contracts that are much lower than on offer in the UK, often sold hand in hand with the “lower cost of living” and “wonderful lifestyle” sells.

    In reality it is a counter-balance to the high taxation base rate for the 457 visa, the much higher health insurances, the huge and hidden education fees for the public schooling of our children and last but by no means least, the huge diparity in rental cost between here and the UK.

    I love living here and opportunities I have had have been wonderful and I am more than happy to pay the same taxes as my Australian co-workers but I should also expect to get the same benifits as they do, ie health, super, family benifits and a free public education for my children.

  297. Mike
    1 Dec 11
    4:43 pm

  298. For those who are seeking an Australian recruiter , Media Pathways specialises in Media sales and Agency roles. ( Just to qualify my father was a 2BOB POM and my mother immigrated from Amsterdam). Please fill free to check us out on

  299. tiki godzilla
    1 Dec 11
    5:19 pm

  300. @Aussie=Pom. Yes, you are right that the original use of POM was derived from POHM (or prisoner of her maj). It was later irreverently ‘spun around’ and used ironically by the convicts themselves (who were lower class english, irish and scots) as a derogatory term for their jailers who were all exclusively english. As Australian culture slowly came into its own the term was then later applied to any upper class english as a pisstake and eventually evolved to define all english folk. In 2011 is usually prefaced by ‘whinging’ because thats what Poms do; whinge.

    So you might want to do a bit of research before you go doling out history lessons and looking foolish.

    Part of the reason Im so pumped LAHFA has been done away with was I was at a barbie in Bondi and I heard some brits whinging (what a surprise) about the cost of living here (even though the pound is STILL considerably stronger than the OZ) and romanticising the days of the 3:1 exchange rate. They were actually getting ANGRY that the Australian economy had improved on the global stage. One, who lives at a very tidy address, went on to complain that the LAHFA wasnt generous enough!

    With seemingly widespread behaviour like this, and your petulant ‘the industry will die without us talented imports, because you Aussies are so hopeless’ do you wonder why the anti British sentiment is so strong? You are your own worst enemies half the time.

  301. English and proud
    1 Dec 11
    5:39 pm

  302. Have you seen the state of British economy? I don’t expect an exodus, just an adjustment.

    Was always a rort but I take exception at people that are on big 6 figure salaries and still cream it on LAFHA.

    Disclosure: I enjoyed LAFHA for 3.5 years before perm residency.

  303. jean cave
    1 Dec 11
    7:26 pm

  304. What percentage of temporary workers on visas get this dispensation then? what percentage are Brits?

  305. Love your work
    1 Dec 11
    8:46 pm

  306. @tiki, I just love what you said. Are you Australian?

  307. Aussies = POMS
    1 Dec 11
    10:04 pm

  308. @tiki godzilla you’re not whinging by any chance are you…?

    p.s. why would the convicts have been calling the jailers POMs if they weren’t prisoners you silly chump?

  309. English ad guy
    1 Dec 11
    11:36 pm

  310. Apparently LAFHA has been around since 1945, and now, just when I get here, it’s abolished. Why, God – why?

  311. Tiki Godzilla
    2 Dec 11
    7:10 am

  312. @Aussies=poms

    I am not whinging, I am celebrating, so you are incorrect about that.

    And, your name is incorrect, your point about the origin of the term Pom is incorrect and I going on form I suspect you are incorrect about a great deal of other things in life (like me being a silly chump)…..

  313. Finally
    2 Dec 11
    8:20 am

  314. Finally Australians will get a fair chance of getting the jobs in our industry rather then the poms just hiring their friends….

  315. Tony Simms
    2 Dec 11
    8:23 am

  316. The Fence
    2 Dec 11
    8:44 am

  317. Wages won’t go up. POMS will reduce their expenses. And with that I suspect a mass exodus…from the Eastern Suburbs. Bankstown will be the new Bondi. Marrickville the new Maroubra. And Ryde the new Randwick. Welcome to life in Sydney.

  318. Phill Ohren
    2 Dec 11
    9:54 am

  319. In my experience, Brits & OTHER foreign workers generally spend their extra LAFHA cash (we can’t buy homes) – so aren’t LAFHA holders helping to stimulate the economy anyway? Just a thought. Plus, AU businesses are able to pay us less in the long run.

    PS: I think wages will go up. You can’t expect talent to hang around when you all of a sudden give them a 20-30% pay cut.

  320. Hugh Treseder
    2 Dec 11
    9:54 am

  321. I personally am in full support of this and can honestly say that I have not exploited this but feel many have. I live in a very small 1 bedder and am a hard working person who has simply saved spare earnings and put this towards essential items. I feel as Lee rightly said that the Australians on here however sound very bitter and yes infact, if they were that good, we wouldnt be being asked to come over. I think it is a good thing and will continue to play by the rules set. This is not my country so I will be respectful, as I would in my own.

  322. Devil's advocaat
    2 Dec 11
    10:21 am

  323. My comment above seems to have been erased.

    Didn’t you like the link to the ATO site pointing out that most 457 holders are not entitled to LAFA?

  324. fraser
    2 Dec 11
    10:39 am

  325. From my experience with LAFHA from large corps to independent agencies, I have found that base salaries are reduced to factor in LAFHA so that the total package is similar to what Australians get paid. Therefore by removing LAFHA will result in people getting paid less than their Australian colleagues.

    I don’t think landlords in Bondi, Manly, Balmain, Tamarama….. have anything to fear. One of the reasons POMS come over here is to live in these areas that are close to the beach and work, LAFHA made it financially easier to have this lifestyle but it isn’t the main reason and so POMS will continue to live in these areas. Additionally POMS didn’t come half way round the world to live in the Australian equivalent of Milton Keynes so I don’t think Bankstown should expect a mass influx of POMS once LAFHA disappears.

    With regard to employing POMS and whether they are better than Australian talent, To say British recruiters in Oz are the reason is naive to say the least, the client still has to select the candidates not the recruiter. The argument about whether talent is better is subjective and will never be answered, however, one reason that POMs get employed is that they have had experience and exposure to bigger/larger campaigns and if it comes to a CV with such experience against a CV with local experience the former will often be chosen. I am not saying this is right or wrong but its the reality.

    I think something that is being ignored is the LAFHA rules have been amended so they still apply for politicians, this was why LAFHA was originally created and its convenient that its been kept for them. Politicians expenses are legalised rorts and the sooner there is an independent review of these the better. $15k on annual taxi expenses and 43 day global trips is taking the piss out of Australia.

  326. Lee
    2 Dec 11
    12:06 pm

  327. Ah Tony you’ve now decided to up the anti by posting a link about us “Poms”. You must lead such an exciting life. Whilst crying next to Doug your browsing YouTube. Pathetic.

  328. Tony Simms
    2 Dec 11
    12:30 pm

  329. C’mon Lee.

    Lighten up.

    LAFHA may be a loss but please don’t lose your sense of humour.

    I’m meeting up with a pommy mate tonight for a beer and a laugh. We have a pint for you too.



  330. Pilki
    2 Dec 11
    12:54 pm

  331. WOW, these comments could be read for days. As a recent ‘import’, I actually brought my saving over here to put down roots and make a life for myself here. Lured by the great weather, yes, BUT, fully committed to pay full taxes and living an Aussie way of life. At no point did I think I would ever get any tax breaks, I knew it would be expensive to live and have found a flat within my budget. It doesn’t make any odds to me if LAFHA stays or goes as I have never benefited from it.

    However, I am having a completely different experience on the job side of things, I am constantly being told that no companies will be sponsoring 457’s as they are cutting back and they are only looking for local talent. So it looks like I may have to return when my 417 runs out next November, such a shame as I too have heaps of international marketing, PR and comms experience (UK, US, HK and Italy). I’m here to work hard, learn more, fit in and give back to the Aussie economy, and it would be great to be given a chance to prove myself.

    Sorry to hear that most have been burnt by what they feel are ‘Poms’ taking the p#ss! However, forming a witch hunt and wishing ‘poms’ would go back to their ‘motherlands’ is ridiculous, after all aren’t you all immigrants too? Or have you simply forgotten about the aboriginals? I think you need to open your eyes…have you seen the amount of Aussie’s in London!!! Take a trip to Fulham ;o)

  332. Local
    2 Dec 11
    1:06 pm

  333. Rather have someone from a third world country who is used to working hard just to survive and wants to make a better life for their family than some blaggers from England faking resumes, dodging tax and overstaying their visas.

    More boat people, less plane people plz.

  334. Lee
    2 Dec 11
    1:28 pm

  335. Fair play Tony. Have a Sherry on me!

  336. jean cave
    2 Dec 11
    1:46 pm

  337. REF 168. local
    You are obviously not clued up on how difficult it is to emigrate to Australia.

    reply to
    You don’t seem to know how difficult and restrictive Australian Immigration policy is.

  338. John
    2 Dec 11
    1:50 pm

  339. Some excellent arguments for both sides, however the fact is our pool needs more depth. The industry can do more to nurture & develop local talent but at the same time bringing in people with overseas experience and different perspectives is integral to that. If we lose people because of this ruling it can’t be any good for both agencies and audiences. Australia’s a small market with plenty of growth ahead and still a cultural wasteland in many ways.

  340. Barry Zuckerkorn
    2 Dec 11
    2:03 pm

  341. @Local Classic fear of immigration.

    Your fear people who’d compete with you with your degree and experience. Just like the unskilled Australian labourer who opposes boat people as they directly compete for jobs.

    The big picture is that for Australia, the more competition the better, especially in the current climate.

    I’m against both Lafha and small mindedness

  342. Doug
    2 Dec 11
    2:57 pm

  343. Yep Lee. Tony S and I have a business… “Old Blokes Who Yearn for the Good ‘ole Days, Watch YouTube, and Dream of Days Gone By Pty Ltd”… We already have 4 clients Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl, and… i cant remember the last one…

  344. Truganini
    2 Dec 11
    2:59 pm

  345. I hope you havent’t forgotten about the aborigines either.

  346. James Robertson Justice
    2 Dec 11
    4:02 pm

  347. The origin of Pom is from the word pomegranate as the rather pasty faced immigrants from the UK went red in the Australian sun.

    However, what no one here has mentioned is the heinous habit of labelling people?

    I cringe when I hear the cricket commentator announce that the “Aussies and are taking on the Paki’s”. This would cause a riot in the UK as this label was coined as a term of derision in the 1960’s.

    To paraphrase Kierkegaard, when you label someone you negate them, as you bestow common characteristics and parameters on them, such as whether they whinge or are lazy.

    The movement of people from one market to another is based more on the belief that, ” an expert is anyone from more than 200 miles away”, than any real difference in skill or experience. In the case of the UK there is a bigger market so the osmotic flow would naturally be outwards and choice of candidates would be wider.


  348. Blue
    2 Dec 11
    4:52 pm

  349. So – has anyone actually looked at the numbers of foreigners working in media here? Particularly in online I’m thinking.

    Just looking around the people here in my office, we’ve got 3 Aussies, 4 more Aussies for 20+ ys, 2 Brits, 2 HK, 1 Israel, 2 Kiwi, 1 Saffa, 1 German, 1 Italian, 1 Zimbabwe, 1 USA, 1 Brazil, 1 Russian, 1 Indian and a Ginger-haired Intern. Almost all (Ranga aside) have had decent experience and training before coming over here. We’re recruiting, but we are massively struggling to get anyone with any experience at all if they’re Australian.

    LAFHA has been a good introduction for a lot of people, like many businesses, you give a discount to entice people to come on board (ie foreigners), you don’t discount for people who have no choice (ie residents or people who absolutely want to stay here no matter what).

  350. James Robertson Justice
    2 Dec 11
    6:42 pm

  351. This last post says it all. The ginger haired intern is referred to as a “Ranga” as connected to Orangutan.

    People with the red hair gene are likely to have Northern European origins and are of Celtic origin. Hence red hair is more prevalent today in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

    This is therefore a gross insult to someone based on a physical characteristic due to heredity. Why are red haired people fair game while other terms of racial abuse are, quite rightly, legislated against?


  352. Tony Simms
    2 Dec 11
    9:31 pm

  353. Well put JRB.

    Hey Blue….don’t you realise that Australians typically call guys with red hair “Blue”

    I have no beef (translation: complaint) that you employ the united nations across your staff but question if you are hiring them because of how much money they save you. If I was a staff member I would feel like a form of cheap labour.

    I would suggest that you are not trying too hard to hire local talent as in your eyes there is an added cost and in doing this you are doing little to build the skills of those locals who will actually stick around and contribute in their own country.

    Another question…what percentage of those hired are over 30?

    Blue….I think you might have a few people seeing Red!!

  354. jean cave
    2 Dec 11
    9:37 pm

  355. Speaking with the authority of one who is excluded from your fair and pleasant land; can I just say, that whatever your point of origin or comparative current status is . . .
    why don’t you just ENJOY being there in OZ with the contemporary bunch of beautiful diverse like-mindeds who are lucky enough to be there as well. This sniping is demeaning to everyone, bears no relation to the reality and is depressing reading to boot.

  356. Godown King
    3 Dec 11
    10:22 am

  357. @comments 138

    It is still debated whether ‘Pome’ is what you say it is, or meaning the sunburnt (rednecks) of the British when they came to Oz (the red flesh of a POMEgranite).

    You say ‘English’ what about all the Welsh, Scottish and especially Irish who came to Oz?

    Secondly it was the currency children who would grow up to antagonize the ‘Poms’. If you had tried to tell them they were English they would have put a huntsman in your tent…

  358. Gidley King.....
    3 Dec 11
    10:23 am

  359. Name correction

  360. S.Mac
    3 Dec 11
    4:22 pm

  361. LAFHA was a RORT. Yeh you might get a few talented/specialised Poms but now you just get the masses (including the Irish) escaping a recession and exploiting this perk. They get it it from shonky recruiters for temp work as soon as they got off their plane. The Pommie clerk was ending up with more than his management. He rents a 3 bedroom apartment in Rose Bay then sub-lets the rooms to newly-arrived mates to make a profit.

  362. Pete
    3 Dec 11
    6:06 pm

  363. @ 54 Anom

    The hide of some you – visiting our country and telling us that we should “get over it” about your being here.

    It’s our country, not yours.

    And Poms have defintely infested the recruitment industry – don’t think I have spoken to an Aussie headhunter for ages, all Poms

    Why should Australia be subsidising Poms working here? Why should they get a benefit we don’t get?

    457 visas are in many cases a complete rort. I’d love to see how many Aussies are turned away to give a Pom a job – we have plenty of qualified Aussies, but i do understand Poms liking to hire other Poms, but there’s a place for that – it’s called the UK.

    It’s shocking a Labor government allows this rort and that’s without counting the tax benefits.

    I hear so many English accents in the industry I have almost learned to pick which region they come from..

    @72 Mick – those youtube videos show some people being rude, but i can’t see an argument against the citizens of any country deciding who comes to their country.. seems fair enough to me.

    @96 Blue

    “or those using the “coming over here, taking our jobs” line, FFS grow up and do some research about immigration and geographic mobility.”

    Hey Blue – it’s our country – it’s not for you to tell us how we should think on immigration or workforce mobility. – Sorry, but it’s not.

    And Blue you mention people are friendly here – yes we are – personally I love Poms and think you guys should a fast track to immigration here if we need migrants as you seem like a good fit, seeing as we were founded by you guys (white settlement only of course)..

    But that doesn’t mean we want all our jobs filled up by Poms – after all it is OUR country.. You would have the right to tell us that you would prefer Brit jobs for Brit people and I don’t see how I can argue against that. It’s your country, not mine.

    @104 Typical whinging Aussies

    “They are filling jobs that cannot be filled by Australians” – sorry that is crap. I have yet to see a POM doing a job that an Aussie couldn’t – I am sure vice versa applies in the UK. There might be a handful of people, but not the myriad that make media and advertisng more English than Aussie.

    And let me tell you – Eastern suburbs rents falling is a good thing.

    And how can we be racists – Poms are the same race as us- get a grip and stop whining about racism when it doesn’t even apply

  364. Sandra
    3 Dec 11
    6:26 pm

  365. Hey Tony Simms,

    go to the ADB and file an age complaint against the headhunter –

    That comment that ” my seniority would not be a good cultural fit with a young team.” is discrimination pure and simple

  366. jean cave
    3 Dec 11
    6:36 pm

  367. Don’t forget the PingPong Poms who have dual nationality.
    This discussion won’t work in black and white box terms will it?

  368. Aussie
    3 Dec 11
    6:39 pm

  369. @ POM DE PLUME #112

    “that’s the kind of personal selfishness and negativity that many people chose to come to Australia to leave behind and look to Australia to be the bigger country about it all.”

    You do realise that as a country and its citizens we are not here to be ‘the bigger country’ about anything, just because you would like us to be – that’s not us being selfish, it’s you and your fellow poms being selfish, demanding that we should adapt to you and not the other way around.

    We are entitled to our point of view, it’s our country and whether that makes us bitter and selfish, well that’s our right as citizens. It’s not your role to tell how we should feel about Pom’s taking Aussie jobs. Sorry, but really it’s a tad arrogant.

    And you can’t say you weren’t taking our jobs when with the tax rort made you cheaper to employ than an Aussie. Even if you were the same cost, you would be taking an Aussie job.

    @ b-dos #122 “I intend to go home someday; therefore why should I have to pay taxes to the Australian government as well as my native country?”

    Because you are benefiting from Australia infrastructure etc while you are here – if you have to pay taxes as well back in the UK, that something expat Pom’s need to negotiate with your country.

    And seriously how bad must the UK be with so many Poms wanting to move here permanently – it’s comparatively rare that you will find an Aussie looking to immigrate some where else.

    And someone mentioned it was very small minded of Swan – well not a cost of 3/4 of a billion dollars its not – it’s a rort pure and simple. We will have plenty of Pom’s here regardless

  370. Dave the gay art director
    3 Dec 11
    6:42 pm

  371. I’ll be in tears if the Poms go home..

    I love all those Pommy accents – especially the ‘innit’ ones

    Bring more chavs over here pls – they are v sexy pls

  372. Tony Simms
    3 Dec 11
    9:53 pm

  373. Hey Sandra,

    The outright discrimination based on age occurs time and time again.
    I have lost count of the number of times all the discriminatory cliches
    are rolled out by both recruiters and agencies.

    It is also illegal to discriminate on the basis that I do not have any UK experience.

    When you pull them up on it they look at you as if they have done nothing wrong, yet the personal and corporate fines for such illegal behavior are significant..

    Now, I could spend all my time fighting numerous discrimination cases but my focus has to be on trying to find some work. After months of trying (and I have talked to so many others in the same situation facing the same issue) I find myself facing a financial crisis and homelessness before Christmas.

    There’s nothing merry about that!

    I very simply need work. I have the skills across the communications mix including digital. I have the local experience with a thorough understanding of the diversity of the Australian market in numerous categories.

    I have delivered huge results for clients and agencies alike. I yet I find
    myself in this simply horrible situation.

    I really enjoy being in this industry and will continue contributing towards its future.
    I had some fantastic mentors around me at a young age and right now I am hoping to do the same.

    I have gone very public on this age discrimination issue and really stuck my neck out. I think enough has been said about the Brit issue but it does add another layer to the industry that needs rebalancing.

    It would be all too easy to take pot shots at individual offenders over the last few months. None of that would bring about significant change from which everyone from graduates to those with significant experience will benefit.

    The Human Rights Commission are particularly interested in the public campaign I have been conducting and it seems our industry more than most have a case to answer. You could go deaf from the sound of the laws being broken in our industry from age discrimination through to discrimination based on people having no UK experience.

    I apologise for my blatent seeking of work but I think if you walk a mile in my shoes and you are genuinely passionate about what you do, you would do everything you could to keep on doing it.

    Can we please…please…get some more constructive discusion back into the debate.

    Tony Simms

  374. DS
    4 Dec 11
    7:16 am

  375. In jingoism we trust! *note sarcastic tone…*

  376. Batman
    4 Dec 11
    12:53 pm

  377. @Pete “It’s shocking a Labor government allows this rort and that’s without counting the tax benefits….”

    I think you will find it is the Labor government who is putting an end to this ‘rort’…

  378. 191
    5 Dec 11
    7:52 am

  379. Would somebody **PLEASE** think of the children!!!!

  380. Marine
    5 Dec 11
    10:37 am

  381. Hi all,

    Not British but French… And taking advantage of the LAFHA.
    I was happy to have it and though it was fair for one reason: being a foreigner, there are a lot of things that cost me more than the average Australian.

    There is no special agreement between my country and Australia in term of medical insurance so I have to pay a private insurer for the equivalence of the Medicare cover given for free to all Australian (that is a little bit over $100/month for the minimum coverage).

    I have to renew my licence every year, and pay the full fee every time when Australians have to do it once every five years.

    Education here will cost me double the tuition fee if I was ever to undertake a masters or any qualifications.

    We are not entitled to any help if we lose our jobs, not benefits at all and would have 28 days to find another sponsored job before having to leave the country.

    I understand that the LAFHA might appear unfair for some, but I believe what I am getting is to make up for all these differences and I think it is reasonable.

  382. Lanky Pom
    5 Dec 11
    1:54 pm

  383. I have to say that this news comes as a bit of a kick to the nether regions.

    I wouldn’t mind the removal of LAFHA if those of us on a 457 didn’t have to:

    * Pay more than locals for private medical insurance, to cover the shortfall in our medicare eligibility and as a condition of our visa
    * Pay for our kids to go to public schools. Yes, that’s right, in NSW I have to pay $4.5k per annum per child to send my 3 kids to a school that is free to permanent residents and citizens. Trust me, I’m not seeing that much coming back to me by way of LAFHA

    If these inequalities were ironed out, I’d happily lose LAFHA. But I’ll soon find myself in a situation where I’m paying the same taxes but getting half the services/ benefit. Where’s the equality in that?

  384. Tony Simms
    5 Dec 11
    2:44 pm

  385. Sorry Lanky Pom

    I am not sure why you would expect equality to receive the same services and benefits as residents and citizens have been paying taxes for many years and
    are committed to the country in the longer term.

    Australian residents and citizens face the same inequalities when issued working visas in many other countries around the world.

    Unfortunately it goes with the territory and is one of the downsides of working in another country. Hopefully our lifestyle benefits make up for the shortfall of other benefits.

  386. Oz guy
    5 Dec 11
    3:07 pm

  387. I agree with Tony Simms. LAFHA is a santa claus tax avoidance scheme, originally made for politicians skipping in and out of Canberra. I can’t see David Cameron giving me a tax break when I head to the UK to take the job of one of his voters.

    -“Skilled workers with European experience.” Pfft. That place is bankrupt.

  388. Lanky Pom
    5 Dec 11
    3:35 pm

  389. Hi Tony.

    I suppose it all boils down to whether you want to attract skilled expats or not. I’d happily stay in Aus if I were on an equal footing with the locals. I’ve always paid my taxes and have no problem doing so. I have worked in Europe and Asia and have never found myself in a situation whereby I am being penalised for paying my dues. LAFHA, for me anyway, isn’t a cushdy tax dodge. Rather it is an allowance which compensates me (almost) for the over and above costs I have as a temporary resident in terms of medical and schooling fees. I don’t have a plush beachside pad, I’m not out every night larging it on the booze. The 5 of us live in a modestly sized 3 bed appartment.

    By the way, no one is doubting that Aussies can do the job. Its just that there aren’t enough of you to fill the vacancies – certainly in the specialised area that I work in. If there were, I wouldn’t be here. However, I suspect that come July 2012 there will be more of these skill gaps appearing. Myself, and many like me, will have to seriously consider moving away. Not because we want to move onto the next tax dodge, but because without LAFHA living in Aus is not affordable. Which is a shame.

  390. You PomE B*****D
    5 Dec 11
    4:47 pm

  391. OMG ! A few things need to be clarified here.

    1. LAFHA is available to ALL nationalities on 457 plus some other visa types. It is also available to ALL Australian citizens whose work requires them to Live Away From Home (Allowance).
    2. As a POM i can assure you that a large amount of Aussies in the UK set up Limited companies in order to pay less tax.
    3. I imagine that an Aussie in the UK could seek to pay AU tax and avoid UK tax if he/she so wished to contribute to this great country but…why would they when UK tax rates are lower. Hence point 2 above.
    4. AU and UK have a double taxation treaty you do not have to pay tax in both. Again see points 2 and 3 above – why would they do that when rates are higher here.
    5. AU employers have benefitted from paying lower Gross salaries when the employee takes LAFHA so locals have been outpriced.
    6. LAFHA taking employees are spending in this economy which contributes to the economy – however it may also contribute to higher rents too so lets hope that changes. I doubt it mind you, there are a hell of a lot of greedy locals owning investment properties – jury’s out on this point for now.
    7. My experience of POM recruitment consultants has been diabolical most of them wouldn’t get a job at home. Not sure how you change that.
    8. Education..hmmm speak to your average kid in both AU and UK and they both come across a thick as pig s**t these days.
    9. Degrees – stop making me laugh. a) too many Aussies and Poms have them and shouldn’t. The quality of some individuals is appalling. This pattern is now the same in the UK under their ex government which touted ‘Uni is everyones right’ sorry but it isn’t. What about a need for tradies ? hence the skills shortage here in AU. b) Sorry but a degree from Bond or UNSW vs University of Oxford or Cambridge – do they really match ? – not in my book.
    10. I see this whole change to LAFHA causing a lot less spending in the economy which is not a good thing. So to all of us I say ‘lets worry’ we’re heading for GFC 2 the last thing we need is even less people in our overpriced, overpaying retail outlets.

    Rant over…now back to my Tea and Scones….at Bondi

  392. jean cave
    5 Dec 11
    9:08 pm

  393. BUT:
    Some UK Degree subjects/types simply don’t exist in Australia by the way.
    UK went digital in the nineties a bit ahead of the global pack.
    There are plenty of countries that have lovely scenery, weather and beachy lifestyle, that are WAY cheaper to live in/ visit than Australia. I don’t think Sydney for example, would have the same buzzy appeal, if all the youthful multicultural mix was watered down.

  394. Arnold Loves Hockey
    5 Dec 11
    10:44 pm

  395. OMG, they are doing away with the Los Angeles Field Hockey Association???!!!!!!

    _I don’t mean to ‘astro turf’ (well, I actually play hockey on astro turf…).

    This is a sad time :(

  396. Craig
    6 Dec 11
    7:00 am

  397. So if the ad industry’s underltying problem is that local hires are perceived to not be as good as the Brits, can the industry work together to improve the education and training of locals?

    Complaining about local quality while hiring overseas is a sure fire way of adding to the issue. Part of the problem much.

    This change might help save the Aussie ad industry – or at least help it get rid of the cringe and whine factor.

    And I dare you to all go out on the floor and tell your junior Aussie staff that they are not as good as the Brits working alongside them,

    Then tell them how you are going to invest in helping them improve their skills because they have the potential to be much better.

  398. Johnny Foreigner
    6 Dec 11
    10:29 am

  399. It’s an open market guys, in an international field. We’re not talking about training doctors here, but art directors and copywriters.

    It’s advertising. And clients and their agencies want immediate results.
    They don’t care where the staff come from, and if the best creatives happen to come from London, New York or Buenos Aires, then so be it.

    Look at the English Premier League as an example. it’s full of players from all over the world, because they’re the best at what they do. And in turn the professionalism and skills they bring to the game have transformed the way English players train and the tactics the club mangers deploy.

    As a consequence the EPL is now the most viewed (and richest) football league in the world. And I would argue that Australian advertising can only benefit by attracting foreigners with different skills sets.

  400. John Grono
    6 Dec 11
    10:54 am

  401. Well I guess that with the EPL analogy the 457 visa should be renamed a 442 visa.

  402. Tony Simms
    6 Dec 11
    10:59 am

  403. Dear Jean

    It seems that the great unwashed colonials here are more than a little preturbed with your comments. When one works in Australia one finds that ones colleagues albeit of ill local breeding have had the opportunity to gain excellent qualifications and have fine skills and whats more they have local knowledge which their betters from the United Kingdom do not possess.

    It has also come to my attention that some of these colonials have been working in digital in this country since the nineties themselves. I was simply mortified by this revelation as I was hoping to perpetuate the ongoing myth that we from the United Kingdom have far superior education, skills and of course good breeding.

    Jean, I would kindly ask you to be a little more sensitive in your comments as we do not wish to upset them. We from the United Kingdom are facing very tough times here at the moment with our priviledged allowances soon to be withdrawn by their colonialist government.

    You may have also been a little harsh in your comments regarding their lifestyle. I for one have grown to enjoy it enormously as have many of my colleages from home.

    We in fact would very much like to stay here and enjoy the pleasures of this wonderful country whilst letting the colonials know that they should be very appreciative of our presence at all times.

    I will think fondly of you during your frozen Christmas surrounded by drizzle whilst I enjoy the abundance of fine seafood and tropical fruits.

    All the very best wishes to you.

  404. Leon
    6 Dec 11
    11:59 am

  405. Importing UK experience is about competitive advantage at a micro level not about addressing a skills shortage at a macro level therefore the employer should be providing the perks, not the government.

  406. Oz guy
    6 Dec 11
    12:34 pm

  407. Well said Leon. What we have here are free market capitalists justifying their government handouts. Contradiction/much.

  408. Malco
    6 Dec 11
    12:34 pm

  409. As an employer (of locals and expats) here are some thoughts:

    Clearly LAFHA should at least be trimmed. Food allowances are a farce. A maximum rent % could be implemented.
    But it is more simple just to repeal it for foreigners.

    However, the government should then equalise other things. For example 457 visa folks pay full medicare, including the surcharge. They can avoid the surcharge by purchasing private insurance, but then this insurance cannot be claimed upon. So if they want insurance they have to buy a separate policy (usually twice the price of normal healthcare). Please bear in mind that the reciprocal agreement means that insurers are just gouging here – there is no basis to the increase.

    Public schools must also be paid for.

    Also, residents have totally different tax free thresholds (pay less tax). I don’t think anyone above has mentioned this. Foreigners pay tax at 29% from the first dollar. Locals don’t pay 30% until 37k.

    33% of federal cash goes on social services and welfare. 457 ppl don’t use that, there is no entitlement.
    16% goes on health. Medicare taxes are equal, plus most medicare costs relate to the elderly (not your typical 457 visa person). On top of that foreigners receive lower medicare. So that seems fair for locals.

    I guess what I am saying is that at the moment foreigners may pay less tax, but not as much as you think. And what they take out the economy is commensurately less.

    However, it would be much more simple just to have totally even tax and charge employers more for visas, that way there HAS to be a solid business case to make it worth their while.

  410. Johnny Foreigner
    6 Dec 11
    12:35 pm

  411. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the other main beneficiaries of LAFHA are the politicians who move interstate to ACT.

    Will Wayne Swan be including himself and his mates in this money saving exercise for Aussie tax payers?

    No? Thought not.

  412. You PomE B*****D
    6 Dec 11
    1:18 pm

  413. Two Words that are a bigger problem for us taxpayers (Lafha claimants included)

    Negative Gearing !!

    Go debate that

  414. Lee
    6 Dec 11
    4:04 pm

  415. I met the inventor of crosswords yesterday…

    His name was P something T something R….

  416. jean cave
    6 Dec 11
    11:12 pm

  417. Dear Tony Simms
    You seem to have read rather more (about 100% more) into my so called ‘harsh’ but factual remarks than I intended. . . Eheu!
    I teach on degree courses in the UK and some foreign (to the UK) students are there because similar TYPE (not level) of degrees are not available in their own countries. That is a fact. Just as I could not do a MA in Indigenous Aboriginal Art Culture here in UK for example. Similarly UK TV, telephone and communications converted from analogue to digital before Australia thus some people will have more experience in that particular field. That is a fact.
    As for the rest of your comments (bit snide . . aren’t they?) I am totally mystified as what you are on about? I am very much FOR keeping the multicultural status quo for the lucky ones who are down under, even if it means I am personally unable to work in or visit Australia.
    I don’t need a lecture in tough times either. (Not said ironically)

  418. JohnnyComeLately
    7 Dec 11
    1:36 pm

  419. I understand the backlash against those getting LAFHA. I’m neither a POM nor an Aussie but lived in the UK for many years and now live in Sydney.

    It’s all well and good to go about POM bashing but a vast majority of Aussies/Kiwi’s and Saffies working in the UK that were either temping or contracting (as was the norm before the GFC) were getting paid Gross into their own Ltd Companies, which could be bought off the shelf for 100 quid. This allowed them to get a massive tax break by paying themselves a minimum weekly wage and off setting expenses against the rest. The end result was a 10-12% tax rate or less depending on how good their accountant was.

    Another dodge was to get their wages paid off shore to a tax haven such as Jersey & then have this filtered back to a UK bank account while only paying 5% tax.

    The UK Govt finally cottoned onto this vast loss of taxes as the ATO has now and closed the various loopholes leading to the majority of people shutting down their companies & paying tax in a normal fashion.

    So before jumping all over foreigners just remember that it’s a not a nationality issue but merely knowing what is on offer within the country that you’re working in. And ask yourself whether you would turn down a major tax break if it was offered to you

    As Warren Buffett stated the other day, his secreatary pays more tax than he does!

  420. ex-pom with 2 passports
    7 Dec 11
    2:07 pm

  421. Wow! I just came across this piss and vinegar. Seems to be much more interesting to readers than advertising doesn’t it?

    I didn’t get LAHFA when I moved here which was a great shame – and it was mostly because I was intending to stay (become a citizen, buy a house, sell my place overseas, etc…) so I didn’t qualify.

    And I think it’s fair that I didn’t get it. I don’t mind paying taxes (though I wish I could pay less) precisely because I intend to stay here, contribute to the economy and integrate into the society.

    My kids go to a nice school on the lower north shore and it’s full of expats (mostly investment bankers rather boringly) who are all living in dirty great rented houses, making money from our economy and contributing a lot less than you and I into our taxation system because they’ve got LAHFA (which they call ‘Laughing’ by the way).

    That’s wrong on multiple levels.

    And I’m glad they’ll be slightly less smug at the next catered BBQ we are forced to endure

    Now, how about you banks passing on the rate cut?!

  422. Bob the Builder
    7 Dec 11
    2:43 pm

  423. Guys , its over the government has spoken , it was a loophole and its over.

    Build a brdge

    This is why they have the power to look at these issues and we sell things.

    The Ad industry is just a pimple on a a bottom compared to other industry’s enjoying this benefit.

    Now start being productive and get on with making sure we have an economy to work in otherwise we will all be out of a job.

  424. AJ the calculator
    9 Dec 11
    2:55 pm

  425. Hi government and other short-sighted individuals,

    This is probably the most retrogressive move the government will ever implement. Besides the long term impact, here is a download for all the guys on this forum of what the short and medium terms will be :

    Facts : LAFHA is valid for only 4 yrs. Its not a lifelong entitlement

    Reality whether you like it or not : No one is going to fire the 457s because it will be simply too expensive to rehire and retrain etc etc and no 457 is going to pack their bags and move out of Australia simply because it is not simple to move houses, families, jobs just because the government wants it that way

    So what will happen : There will be an unnatural increase in applications for PR not based on an intention to permanently reside but guess what ? to now suck in some of the other advantages that 457s lose out currently which the government did not calculate they would stand to lose if they withrew the LAFHA- yes, it is the family assistance benefit, child birth bonus, home purchase benefit, medicare and free public schooling just to name a few.
    Do the maths and you will find out what you are doing is going to leave you financially in the same place as before but a whole lot of work in the Deptt of Immigration processing files for people who will leave the country as their assignment gets over but will leave behind so much paperwork and statistics that you and the ABS will spend time analysing as to why a greater number of PRs dont file for citizenship any more !
    there you are. Be our guests.

  426. John
    10 Dec 11
    11:17 am

  427. As a local i have often felt angry that poms get this ‘allowence’ as its my tax that subsidises them. However, when it was announced at work last week I realised from speaking with a new colleague that transferred with our work only a month ago that our employer matched his salary package from the UK based on base salary, super and LAFHA. He has said its twice as expensive to rent here so i think yes some of the big execs have taken advantage but real people with normal salaries who were asked by there employers to come over for 2 years and based there salary on being ‘market rate’ based on the package including LAFHA have got a raw deal. I dont think we will see a mass exodus but i think a few may leave…

  428. Scott
    11 Dec 11
    7:20 pm

  429. i think people are abusing the system but for those of us like me who came here for a fixed period of time (not from UK). and who still have a house to pay for back in home country (which is actually what meant by living away from home) then this is an issue. The fact that housing and rent is ridiculously overpriced also doesnt help. I see this impacting migration. Australians will say thats a good thing but from what I have seen so far the “sick day” mentality of locals is the main reason why most companies look elsewhere for talent

  430. Pete75
    12 Dec 11
    10:20 am

  431. Speaking from experience.

    When I was employed as a trainee recruitment consultant in 2005 by a large UK based recruitment company, I was told that the best they could do on salary was $35,000. Even at that time the salary was rather low, but I was assured that the commission would top up my salary nicely.

    And so it did.

    After about 12 months working in the job I presented an extremely qualified local person for a role within the company. The candidate lost out to a UK candidate who had recently graduated with no industry experience whatsoever. I was very surprised to say the least. This got me to asking a few questions about why UK candidates seemed to be getting preferential treatment over local candidates.

    I was shocked at just HOW preferential the treatment was.

    All UK candidates started on no less than $40,000. This was due to that salary being the minimum amount allowed in order to qualify for a 457 visa. Australian employees started on $5,000 less. On top of that, UK employees were able to claim LAFHA.

    So, essentially, I had to pay full tax, on less salary to subsidise foreign workers to receive preferential treatment over local workers.

    I should point out that I take no issue with individuals taking advantage of a benefit to which they’re entitled. Unfortunately the wording of the law is so poor that it essentially functions as a rort that disadvantages local workers.

    Closing the LAFHA loophole is long, long overdue.

  432. Liam
    13 Dec 11
    12:12 pm

  433. So many dumb dumb dumb comments on here.

    Ex-pats from the UK already pay a much higher taxation bracket as we are not permanent residents. LAFHA allowance is designed to offset it. This is not an expense at Australian taxpayers in the slightest! How can something not being paid, be a ‘loss’!? Talk about idiocy.

    If this remains, it will be the single most dumbest thing a government has done. I previously thought WA had a labour crisis? Many many people will simply pack up and leave for home. Tax revenues for local governments will PLUMMET. Local shops will CLOSE. Development will cease in your area. Rent prices will plummet and house prices will drop no doubt too. This will have a knock on snowball effect right down to the average taxi driver picking people up from the airport.

    Ex-pats are paid a lot, but also TAXED a lot. Which benefits your area greatly.

    I have been in WA for 6 months now. And if this goes through. I am defintley packing my bags for home. Its bad enough having to pay sky high prices on everything from beer to bread, then only being allowed to shop on a Sunday. Now i’m expected to take a $4.5k hit per month and still pay extortionate rental rates in Perth et al?

    Sorry but your beaches arent that good to warrant this disaterous policy.

    Good luck to Australians who foolishly think ‘more jobs for us’. You’ll find it will backfire on you spectacularly. After all, if you were that capable already, why are immigrants even here? Case closed.

  434. Liam
    13 Dec 11
    12:24 pm

  435. PS: In response to my above post. “After all, if you were that capable already, why are immigrants even here? Case closed.”

    I am from Scotland, lived here 6 months. My hiring manager is American. My overall head boss is Australian and the head recruitment lady is also Australian. 100% Australian.

    It has nothing to do with nepotism and everything to do with experience & education.

  436. The Lifebuoy
    13 Dec 11
    12:41 pm

  437. Liam, I think you are drawing a VERY long bow with “Tax revenues for local governments will PLUMMET. Local shops will CLOSE. Development will cease in your area. Rent prices will plummet and house prices will drop no doubt too.”

    And it’s a $4.5k hit per month? So it’s worth $54k a year to you? Now that is some sort of assistance package! I ‘d LOVE that sort of assistance being a self-employed born-and-bred Aussie taxpayer over the past three decades. As a matter of fact I’d kill for a tenth of that.

    On the plus side there should be no change to the availability of soap as local as there is a local store that remains open.

  438. Ricki
    13 Dec 11
    1:24 pm

  439. Liam, I wanted to read and understand your point but I couldn’t get past the bleating and the belligerence and the entitlement….and frankly, you’re just not a lot of fun.

    Bye bye.

  440. Ricki
    13 Dec 11
    1:29 pm

  441. In fact….I think we can work this thing out. Those of you that make me laugh, you can keep your LAFHA. Those of you who make me cross (and right now thats a lot of you!), no LAFHA.

    Exchanging laughter for LAFHA. Its only fair.

  442. Max
    13 Dec 11
    2:03 pm

  443. Liam, your tax argument makes no sense.

    Most LAFHA people are taxed as residents (as they work more than half the tax year in Australia) so they pay the same tax rates as Aussies – it’s just the tax base that is lower due to all the allowances they receive (rent, meals etc) to reduce their taxable income.

    To me this will create a level playing field.

  444. Louise
    13 Dec 11
    2:33 pm

  445. To all of you that used this opportunity to attack the British – you have just proved to me how xenophobic you are, especially since you’ve done it anonymously.

    I’m a British born Australian citizen and very happy and fortunate to be able to live in this great country indefinitely. When I took my oath, I had it drummed into me that Australia is a truly multicultural nation. But those values obviously aren’t shared by some people who read mUmBRELLA.

    I’ve made a major contribution to the Australian economy for the past 7 years having set up my own business 6 years ago. It wasn’t easy to emigrate here as Australia has the most unffordable accommodation in the English speaking world, the highest grocery prices in the Western world and grossly over-priced retail. But I pay over the odds for those things, because I know Sydney is a highly desirable iconic city to live in and I love living here.

    I moved here to take up a senior position in a PR agency, which was advertised nationally, but no Australians could match the experience that I had. Australian employers in many industries (not just media, PR, digital and marketing) are forced to look for staff overseas to fill the skills gap.

    The LAFHA is paid to foreign workers to cover the very high accommodation and living costs (because it is assumed they are already paying accommodation costs back home) and they are intending to return. I never claimed it even though I was on a 457 visa for my first 9 months living here, as I never planned to return to the UK.

    I can see why people are up in arms as many of them just won’t be able to afford the living costs without it and a lot of those people will be forced to return home.
    If all the Australians that are whinging about ‘Poms” taking their jobs are willing and capable to step in and fill all those positions that will become vacant, then things will be fine – but I very much doubt it.

  446. Uninstall
    13 Dec 11
    3:17 pm

  447. “Sorry but your beaches arent [sic] that good to warrant this disaterous [sic] policy.”

    Don’t you just love being told how good Yanks and Poms are by Yanks and Poms?

    Bottom line, Australia is, economically, a better place to live than the US or the UK –

    Then there’s the beaches.

    Here’s the new deal. Non-citizens will do as they are told, or they will be deported.
    You’re not special, but Australia is. By letting you live here we are granting you a privilege. If you don’t like the rules, bugger off home.

  448. Tony Simms
    13 Dec 11
    4:37 pm

  449. I would like start a fund raising appeal for Liam.

    He is obviously going to be doing it tough and in the Australian spirit of a fair go
    I think it is only fair that we help the tight Scotsman out of his growing plight.

    Ironically enough the appeal will be call LAFHA
    Liam’s Ailing Funding Hiccup Alleviated.

    The money raised through our spirit of generosity will be contributed to purchasing Liam a fine set of new luggage which he can pack as quickly as possible, book the earliest flight and go home.

    Like Ricki, I too found the bleating, beligerance and bloated sense of entitlement
    was only exceeded by his lack of understanding of the economic contribution
    made by LAFHA recipients. I think our economy will manage to battle on regardless.

    PS Unfortunately donations to Liams fund raising appeal are not tax deductable.

  450. Liam
    13 Dec 11
    5:47 pm

  451. Wow. So many resentful people here.

    Fact, the cost of living is far higher in Australia than the UK. The LAFHA is designed to offset it. $10 a beer? $10 for bananas?

    You’ll be the first to complain when the cost of your food rockets and supermarkets close down because of lack of custom.

    I dont think you realise just how many ex-pats are in Australia not just Brits.

    For the purposes of argument, all my bosses are Australian but i’m from the UK. That says something about work ethics and employee selection between both nations. Fact, Australia does not have enough suitably qualifed workers coming through the system. Dont worry, its the same as the UK.

    I think Australia is a great nation. I love being here. Wouldnt have otherwise. But this move will discourage immigrants and will ultimatley hurt you as a nation. Combined with your 80% carbon tax, you can kiss goodbye to decent pay deals from any large company that currently relies on immigrant workers.

    Dont get sucked into the ‘Australians are losing out’ argument. Only the uneducated fall for that political catch phrase. A tax allowance is not the same as ‘robbing an Australian’ taxpayer.

    PS: Its easy to get citizenship in Australia. All you need is a brain.

    This move will not help Australians get a job. It will merely cost Australian resident companies more cash. It will make them pay out more to employ an immigrant, than they would otherwise pay in taxes to the government.

    For me its clear cut, as much as i’d like to stay. If the LAFHA goes, i’m gone with it. The prices of everyday items here in WA are so much more than back home. And given the choice, i would actually move back home rather than remain and be ripped off.

  452. jean cave
    13 Dec 11
    8:30 pm

  453. quote Liam ‘PS: Its easy to get citizenship in Australia. All you need is a brain.’

    ???????????????????????? + be under a certain age

  454. Tony Simms
    13 Dec 11
    8:37 pm

  455. Liam

    The facts are clearly demonstrated by the link posted by @Uninstall.

    Australia is doing well in every regard which is why you are here in the first place.

    The UK is clearly a worse place to be or you wouldn’t be here at all.
    You are now bitching and moaning because they have changed the rules and you are going to be $54K down. My heart bleeds!

    Calm down and deal with it. If you are truly worth what you say you are, your employer will want to retain you. Carrying on like a two year old throwing a hissy fit because someone took away the perk that made you cheap and appealing as an employee in the first place will not solve anything.

    The departure gate at the airport may just well be your best alternative.

    Now lets check that tally on the LAFHA (Liam’s Ailing Funding Hiccup Alleviated)
    fund raiser ……the donations are pouring in!!. Are you available to fly Friday?

  456. Poor Liam
    13 Dec 11
    8:49 pm

  457. Liam I will give you lift to the Airport, you can buy me a $10 beer on the way!

  458. Damon
    13 Dec 11
    10:16 pm

  459. @Liam

    You describe Australia, on one hand, (with LAFHA) like a tropical Oasis. However then, in a split second, on the other hand, Australia becomes a cold grey blur

    Well Liam, merry yourself back to the kingdom of blur (and Blur, which is a perk admittedly…), drizzly rain and cold. We will fill your place I am sure. Tally ho and good luck back in Blighty…

    p.s. after a hard days graft and a walk out in the 30+ degree heat in WA; doesn’t a nice cold $10 beer taste good!

  460. John Grono
    13 Dec 11
    10:18 pm

  461. Jean Cave, Liamcould be right with his comments that “all you need is a brain”. It’s just that he neglected to say that in his case it is a sheep’s brain.

  462. Banana
    13 Dec 11
    10:42 pm

  463. @Liam. You cant grow me in England…

  464. jean cave
    14 Dec 11
    10:39 am

  465. I just had a lovely glass of Cornish Rattler. Can you get that in Australia? I hope so . . You can get quite thirsty walking along a beautiful beach in 4 or 5 layers of clothing in the cold and wet windy UK weather. But a log fire, a fresh pilchard supper in the Aga and un-metered hot bath are waiting.

  466. Oh me oh my
    14 Dec 11
    10:44 am

  467. Nothing better than paying off your massive HECS debt next to an Irish person who got a free degree from his/her bankrupt country and has “European experience” stamped all over the CV so they can get promoted ahead of you. Oh, and they don’t pay tax so they can afford an apartment in Bondi twice as big. Bye bye Lafha.

  468. Barry Zuckerkorn
    14 Dec 11
    2:59 pm

  469. Hmmm. Liam 219 is either a very humorous Australian mixing things up (a long shot -hoho) or one of the idiots who has spoilt this for everyone.

    Good bye Rose Bay…hello Strathfield.

  470. Banana
    14 Dec 11
    10:00 pm

  471. One skin, two skin, three skin…

    @Liam Learn to spell.

  472. Phil
    15 Dec 11
    1:03 am

  473. long live the LAFHA!

    we may get a few extra dollars back in a moderate tax break.
    but when we do go back home only 55% of our super comes with us! id’s say you more than make your money back!
    457ers also pay higher childcare costs and receive no government benefits for full time parents that come to support there spouse.

    I work in a company where we’ve had to inflate a job offer for a senior exec 3 times over a period of 4 months to try and attract a qualified candidate .. in the end we were left with no choice but to directly source from the uk!
    in this climate it helps to have an incentive! especially if your going to convince someone to come half way around the world with his family to do a job that no Aussie seems to be able to fill!

    ps i only just found out i could claim LAFHA after working here for 3 years!
    not everyone comes for the tax break…

  474. Kha Nguyen
    15 Dec 11
    9:23 am

  475. The key to this thread begins with C and ends with NT. Content

  476. Tony Richardson
    15 Dec 11
    1:16 pm

  477. 25 years in the biz and my pommy mates never mentioned this to me!

    Those rascals!

  478. jean cave
    15 Dec 11
    8:43 pm

  479. I am going into a no-comment zone for the rest of December.
    Happy Christmas to you mob.

  480. Kerry
    16 Dec 11
    7:30 am

  481. I have loved reading all these comments – so interesting. I am South African, just arrived as hubby was transferred to Sydney by his company in Johannesburg. Sydney is so expensive, we were delighted to hear about Lafha and disappointed to hear it will be done away with. But I totally get why Australians would want to see that happen, and actually I agree. My hubby would be glad to pay tax as any other Australian citizen does, as long as the $4500 that we have to pay for our children to attend public school is also done away with and we can claim from medicare instead of having to pay a lot of dollars for private health insurance. I think it’s completely unfair to take the one financial advantage foreigners working in Australia get, but keep the many financial penalties that are thrust upon us.

  482. Leon
    16 Dec 11
    10:00 am

  483. @Kerry and the rest of the tourists with an unrealistic sense of entitlement …

    When you become Australian citizens you can have a say on our taxation policy. Until then, do your homework, negotiate with your employer and make an informed *business* decision whether coming out here is the right move for you.

    If you decide to come here best you live within your means. Sydney is a big place. The rents in the Western and Southern suburbs are a lot cheaper than the inner city, East and North Shore. Dining out in the outer suburbs is a lot cheaper too.

    There are people in far more desperate circumstances trying to get into this country that we should be assisting. Your first-world problems are the least of my concern.

  484. Kha Nguyen
    16 Dec 11
    11:51 am

  485. @Leon You little Aussie battler. Love your work

  486. C
    16 Dec 11
    12:00 pm

  487. What initially looks like bad news for 457er’s will turn out to be a policy in their favour. Employers have been under paying staff claiming LAFHA and not paying full super and the employees have had no option but to go along with it or go home. This should force employers to treat foreign workers who genuinly want to aim for residency to buck up their ideas. Often 457 workers are stuck in the trap where they can’t apply for residency as they’re being underpaid in the first place. They also have zero chance of finding employment elsewhere as employers refuse interviews for existing 457 visa holders including their partners / wives! Employers will just need to start incentivising their staff like in the rest of the world where healthcare, bonuses are standard!

  488. Josh
    16 Dec 11
    12:11 pm

  489. Good move. We have more than enough of these third-rate Pommy gits, using Australia as a safe haven from their basket-case Eurozone.

    Whenever that sickly, semi-cockney, pseudo middle class accent appears, you just know it’s bringing irksome arrogance and mediocrity with it.

    Transport them I say! Back to the wretchedness whence they came!

  490. Giddie Kingmonster
    17 Dec 11
    11:33 am

  491. @Josh.

    At least they say please when ordering a beer (instead of thanks).

    As you were…

  492. Realist
    19 Dec 11
    1:27 pm

  493. Obviously all the bogans on here who have never travelled out of NSW have never been to London, where there are equally as many aussies, many of whom are paying little tax with their off shore bank account set up.

    Also please remember this tax rule will be still be staying in place for the many, australians who travel inter-state ! So its nice that they will keep this in place for the politicians in Canberra. This is clearly a move by the unions to keep out foreigners whose capabilities are on the government list of in-demand skills!

    I work in IT, and out of a team of 20 , we have 1 Australian who is employed and therefore has the neccesary skills to do the role.

    I don’t think everyone will leave oz and go back to the UK but I can see many people packing up and working elsewhere in the world where are skills are in demand. Julia Gillard – you have been warned.

  494. Appalled
    19 Dec 11
    1:49 pm

  495. Shame on you Australia! The majority of these comments border on nothing less than xenophobic! Please get your facts straight first: this allowance was brought into effect by Australian POLITICIANS to offset their expenses of living in Canberra. Secondly this allowance is available for anybody to use, relevant Australians of course included, not just “brits” or “poms”. Please understand that its removal will impact a large group of Aussies too not just those who get it: understand that those who come here spend their money in your country, the more they get the more goes into your pockets. And even some do rent expensive properties please tell me who is to fill the bubble if they dont? Explain this to those who have mortgages. Look at all implications of this tax not just the short-sighted, jealousy issues, and please do not tar all with the crimes of a few devaints.

  496. Unrealist
    19 Dec 11
    1:49 pm

  497. Damn. The cat just had kittens. Julia!!! Your fault!!!

  498. Anonymous
    19 Dec 11
    2:07 pm

  499. whats lafha innit?

  500. Anthony
    24 Dec 11
    4:43 pm

  501. OMG! Can of worms, open!

    I read up to about post 70 and then I started scrolling, scrolling, scrolling … my 2 cents 😉

    I sold my 9 year old business last year, as an employer, I say spend more energy on training local talent. No unfair advantage should be maintained.

    I lived and worked in the UK for 5 years (about 12 years ago), it was a great place to live but ppl, really, have you been watching the news!! We haven’t great here. I think any self actualised person from the UK would prefer to live here, so a little tax issue isn’t going to stop the true movers.


  502. Anthony
    24 Dec 11
    4:47 pm

  503. … Crappy iPad. Who can I rant at and blame? :)

    *** we have it great here

    *** xenophobes, get off the cross! It’s Jeebus’s at Christmas (isn’t it? Or is that Easter? Tooth fairy?? Whatever!) stop hating. Hate never fixes issues of hate.

    I love ya pommies, if you want to join our fantastic land expect to contribute like therestofus