The federal government is set to abolish the 457 visa, which the media and marketing industry regularly uses to employ international talent, and replace it with two new visa classes.
In an announcement today, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “We’re putting jobs first, we’re putting Australians first. Australia is the most successful multicultural nation in the world. We are an immigration nation but the fact remains Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs, so we’re abolishing the 457 visas, the visas that bring temporary foreign workers into our country.
“We’ll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.”
Current visa holders will not be affected by the changes, according to ABC News.
The government will introduce two new temporary skills visas: a two-year visa and a more specialised option for four years “targeted at higher skills”.
Turnbull said: “The new visa will better target the genuine skills shortages, including in regional Australia. It will include new requirements, including previous work experience, better English language proficiency and labour market testing.”
Tony Hale, chief executive officer of The Communications Council told Mumbrella the changes were unlikely to have a dramatic effect on the industry.
“The Comms Council doesn’t collect any data on 457 visa usage but we are aware that members do use the program if they can’t access the appropriate talent locally. Obviously, we will need to examine the replacement visas but given they require experience, English proficiency and labour market testing, it may not have a huge impact. The most telling factor is that our members will aim to source local talent in the first place because the industry has an enviable record in being able to attract and develop our own world-class talent,” he said.
Sophie Madden, CEO of the Media Federation Australia, said recruiting talent is one of the key pressures for its members however expatriates represent only 10% of all media agency industry staff.
“As is the case for most small and growing industries, recruiting and retaining experienced talent is one of the key pressures for our members. All media agencies invest significantly in local training, development and agency culture programs, which has resulted in reduced churn and a decline in overseas recruitment,” she said.
“We don’t measure the number of 457 visas in the industry, we do know however that in total, expatriates represent only 10% of all media agency industry staff. This number has declined over the last 6 years.”
According to the latest figures from the Immigration Department, there were a total of 3,190 marketing specialists on 457 visas as of September 30, with 2,110 of those within New South Wales.
There were 2,000 sales and marketing managers as of September 30, with 1,050 of those based in NSW.
In the September quarter, 310 457 visas were granted for marketing specialists while 240 were approved for sales and marketing managers.
A majority of the visa holders across the board were from India, which accounted for 24.6% of the intake, followed by the UK and China at 19.5% and 5.8% respectively. The United States represents 5.1%.