In a step that is sounding a bit Trumpish, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull announced yesterday that the Government will replace the skilled 457 visa with two new visa categories to give Australians top priority for jobs.

Turnbull made the announcement on Facebook, saying he would “put jobs first” and “Australians first”.

The current four-year 457 visa for skilled migrants is to be replaced with:

Turnbull said “Australians must have priority for Australian jobs – so we’re abolishing the [class] 457 visas, the visas that bring temporary foreign workers into our country,” ….  “We will no longer let 457 visas be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians.”

Our take is this:

The intent of this legislation is to stop scam applications.  And of course in good Government fashion, instead of addressing the issue, with the offenders of the system, they’ve decided to change the whole system for a few dodgy employers!  The simple fix would be to reduce the categories for eligible employees and to ensure dodgy employers face maximum penalties.

Any technology organisation or knowledge based company will tell you we have a significant TALENT gap in this country.  On that basis, we agree with the SMH piece – The High Tech industry will suffer dramatically!  Penalising all Employers for a few is non-nonsensical.

My experience over the last 15 years in this space is that if employers could find talented Australians for the jobs first they would!  Most employers are not spending hundreds of thousands scanning the globe to deliberately bring in 457 visa holders!

The fundamental problem is one that has been clear since the early 2000’s when HR started warning employers that a war on talent is coming.

We are now not only in the global talent war, we are losing it!  With our education and skill development system in this country lagging behind, this is what the Government needs to address urgently.