Feeds

Australia shuts up shop for tech temps

Government clamping down on temporary workers

The essential guide to IT transformation

That idea you've entertained to enjoy a year or two working in Australia, which hasn't had a recession since the early 1990s, boasts an unemployment rate of just 5.6 per cent, sun galore, beautiful beaches and a shortage of tech workers?

Dream on, Reg readers: Australia is clamping down on temporary foreign workers and the “457 Visas” that make it possible to come.

457 visas are an instrument designed to help local businesses find skilled workers when the local talent pool has dried up. 457s aren't designed as a pathway to permanent residence, but do make it a little easier to head down that path if one chooses.

The technology industries are quite keen on 457s, with category of employer labelled “Information Media and Telecommunications” securing 3,990 workers in the year to January 31st, 2013, and over 30,000 “professionals” or “technicians and trade workers” securing the visa over the same period.

But Australia's government has, of late, made 457s a political hot potato with insistences some employers are importing– and sometimes abusing – lowly-paid workers. Accusations have also been made that local business finds it easier and cheaper to import workers than to train locals.

The new 457 arrangements mean local employers have to show they've exhausted reasonable efforts to recruit locally. Once an employer can show it's impossible to hire locally, going down the 457 route will require an annual payment on top of the $AUD900 application fee. And that's before they pay for overseas talent search and help new workers to relocate.

Industry thinks these new arrangements are a bad idea, not least because they seem a political ploy Australia's left-wing government is using to prop up its vote among key stakeholders. The Australian Information Industry Association's election platform (PDF), released in May 2013, says “... it is imperative that the longstanding 457 Visa Program remain in place. While arguably only a stop gap, the program provides much needed relief in addressing the immediate shortfall in ICT skills availability.”

That Australia continues to endure a shortfall is on show in the nation's Skilled Occupations List, the occupations the government says remain eligible for 457s. That list, updated this week, still includes the following IT-related jobs:

  • Analyst Programmer
  • Developer Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Computer Network and Systems Engineer
  • Telecommunications Engineer
  • Telecommunications Network Engineer

Ironically, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's communications advisor, Briton and former advisor to Tony Blair John McTernan, is employed on a 457 visa. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
How to promote CSIRO's ICT in Schools in your community
Vulture South is closing in on its target to find volunteers to help teach tech in schools
A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...
Uni-ditching teens are COMING FOR YOUR JOBS
Symantec security chap signs for CSIRO's ICT In Schools
Vulture South is closing in on our goal of 20 new recruits to help teachers and kids
Everyone's an IoT expert but now there's a certificate to prove it
Cisco creates Certification of Things for industrial sensor-footlers
Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD
Help The Social NetworkTM make the kernel better
LinkedIn settles missed overtime pay case: Will pay $6m to staffers
US Dept of Labor: It violated Fair Labor Standards Act
NICTA man explains why he volunteers for CSIRO's ICT in Schools
'I feel fantastic after the sessions - It's the best part of my job' says volunteer
The Register is HIRING technology hacks for the WORLD
Live on Earth? Want to be a Vulture? Enquire within
Pleased to meet you. I'm Joe Bloggs, MVP, vExpert, Cisco Champ
What a mouthful. Do customers care? Six title-holders quizzed
MoJ IT workers 'n' pals extend strike action over privatisation
Fears of cuts when shared services gig moves to Steria
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.