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457 visa axing to hurt PR industry with ‘PR manager’ to be removed from temporary visa list

Recruitment of overseas staff into Australian advertising, media, PR and digital agencies is set to become significantly tougher thanks to the Turnbull government’s plans to abolish the 457 visa, with the number of eligible occupations for the new replacement visas being reduced by 216.

For the PR industry, of concern is the proposed removal of public relations manager from the approved occupations list.

Industry body the Public Relations Institute of Australia has described yesterday’s announcement as “concerning and unexpected”.

Jenny Muir: The PR industry is expecting very strong growth over the next three years

“The 457 skilled visa scheme was effective and highly valued by Australia’s public relations and communication industry. The PR and communication industry is expecting very strong growth over the next three years in response to the diversification of the marketing and communication skills requirements in every organisation, in every sector,” PRIA National President Jenny Muir said.

“This growth cannot be achieved by relying on the capacity of our highly skilled home-grown workforce, it must be complemented by a skilled migration program that is responsive and can be tailored to industry need.

“Given that the government was in the middle of a review of its Skilled Occupation List, PRIA is concerned about the removal of one of the two PR industry categories without industry consultation. The new two-tiered TSS skilled visa scheme will need to continue to support the growing need for highly skilled professionals in our industry.”

Also on the chopping block are the following occupations:

  • Artistic director
  • Media producer (excluding video)
  • Radio presenter
  • Television presenter
  • Art director (Film, Television or State)
  • Director of photography
  • Film, television, radio and state directors
  • Radio journalist
  • Market research analyst
  • Multimedia designer
  • Broadcast transmitter operator
  • Actor
  • Variety artist, actor, dancer and other entertainers
  • Composer
  • Music director
  • Singer
  • Music professional

Ditching the 457 visa is part of the Turnbull government’s reform package which it says is aimed at strengthening “the integrity and quality of Australia’s temporary and permanent employer-sponsored skilled migration programmes”.

The new temporary short skill (TSS) visa programme will be comprised of a short-term stream of up to two years and a medium-term stream of up to four years.

The TSS visa will have a number of new requirements including visa applicants needing to have at least two years’ work experience in their occupation.

Other requirements for the temporary skill shortage visa include:

  • a minimum market salary rate which ensures that overseas workers cannot be engaged to undercut Australian workers
  • mandatory labour market testing, unless an international obligation applies
  • capacity for only one onshore visa renewal under the Short-Term stream
  • capacity for visa renewal onshore and a permanent residence pathway after three years under the Medium-Term stream
  • the permanent residence eligibility period will be extended from two to three years
  • a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers
  • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers
  • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will collect Tax File Numbers and data will be matched with the Australian Tax Office’s records
  • mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided

Tightening eligibility requirements for employer-sponsored permanent skilled visas include:

  • tightened English language requirements
  • a requirement for visa applicants to have at least three years’ work experience
  • applicants must be under the maximum age requirement of 45 at the time of application
  • strengthened requirement for employers to contribute to training Australian workers
  • employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold

The implementation of these reforms will begin immediately and will be completed in March 2018.

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