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Finding Alternatives To The 457 Visa In The IT Industry

With the recent changes in the 457 visa by the Turnbull government, the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry seems to be taking one of the biggest hits. With digital technologies growing fast in Australia, there’s a significant demand for ICT employers but a reduction in Australians graduating with the required degrees and skills.

The 457 visa was a four-year visa system that allowed companies to bring over highly skilled overseas talent to temporarily work in Australia, with an opportunity to apply for permanent residency at the conclusion of the four years. IT companies were able to source global talent to fill skill gaps that the domestic market was unable to fill. In the past decade, the number of IT workers on the 457 visa has increased by 136%.

“Some of these are skills that can’t really be taught, you only get them through experience. So the best way to learn is only by doing, and the only people who have done these jobs, at the moment, are overseas” says Dean McEvoy, CEO of the IT industry group, Tech Sydney.

With the 457 visa being replaced by a two-year temporary visa that will not allow permanent residency at its conclusion, how can IT companies hire efficiently and drive growth? How will the fill the skills gap?

Changes in the 457 visa also means IT companies will be financially penalised for hiring overseas even when they have no choice, and Support Engineers and Test Engineers can no longer apply as job titles have been removed.

Attracting and hiring global talent is essential for a diverse and innovative workplace. Some companies require workers who understand international markets in-depth. With these changes, where does it leave the IT industry?

Not to fear, there are actually other ways IT companies can hire overseas talent. The 408 visa is a Temporary Activity visa for people come to Australia to undertake one of the following activities: entertainer, invited participant, researcher, religious worker, special program, sport, exchange, superyacht crew, domestic worker (executive) or Australian Government endorsed event.

IT companies will be able to hire young international talent for their short term projects (up to one year) through AIESEC’s Global Talent program, which is classified as a Special Program (an approved program that provides opportunities for youth exchange, cultural enrichment or community benefits) under the 408 visa. The Global Talent program has added immense value in many Australian companies.

One of the biggest benefits of AIESEC’s program is that we organise all the logistics and visa processing for the trainees, meaning companies can focus more on how to bring out the best of their talents while giving them a rewarding professional challenge.

“The whole process of hiring them, getting them to manage while they’re over here was simple,” says Mike Casey, Founder of GradConnection, an online platform connecting young people to professional opportunities with companies. “AIESEC sorted out all their accommodation and visas so we didn’t have to worry about any of that. The interns showed up ready to work and became an important part of the team. Especially when you start to spread globally, you start to find every culture has its strengths. I’m a massive fan of diversity and would like to continue to grow that and hire more people through AIESEC.”

The Global Talent program brings youth leadership, global perspectives and functional expertise to provide organisations with a competitive edge. With Millennials set to dominate the global workforce, the Global Talent program will allow IT companies to get a head start and solve their skills shortage problem. 

Louise Giolitto, the Director of Sector Services and Development at Western Australia Council of Social Services (WACOSS), also agrees: “The interns provided great value to our organisation. They brought a different outlook and a set of skills that really made a difference to our projects.”

Find out how you can connect to Global Talent today at https://www.aiesecaustralia.org/companies/hire or by contacting hello@aiesecaustralia.org

Tracy Trieu

A Marketing and Psychology student from the University of Sydney who dreams of spending her life traveling, collecting crazy experiences, looking at cool art, changing the world, drinking too much tea, authoring a book, and eventually retiring to live the peaceful life of a librarian.