Trainees can help fill gap left by 457 changes

27 September, 2017

Bakers, chefs, event organisers, hotel managers are among the hospitality occupations to have been removed from the Subclass 457 Visa for foreign workers, with some caveats.

This may impact both the tourism and hospitality sectors, who often rely on foreign workers to fill vacancies they claim many Aussies aren’t qualified for or prepared to work in.

The Turnbull Government updated the occupations lists for a range of temporary and permanent skilled visas, which came into effect as of July 1st.

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton says abolishing the 457 Visa program and replacing it the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa will prioritise Australian jobs and strengthen citizenship arrangements.

“The new visa stream allows people firstly as employers to properly advertise for Australians to fill those jobs,” he said.

“If they can’t fill that position with an Australian worker then in limited circumstances they can fill that position with a foreign worker, but I want the default position to be the Australian worker filling that job or training taking place.”

The only solution to the apprentice skills shortage is to put more focus on training and skilling up the WA workforce for the future, says Apprenticeship Support Australia Manager Lena Constantine.

“Now is the right time for employers to be taking on an apprentice or trainee. Employers need to start thinking about their long-term workforce needs and the skills they require.”

“Apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way to bring the skills you need into your business, either by bringing in new talent or upskilling and developing current staff.”

Apprenticeship Support Australia can assist employers in accessing financial incentives and benefits from the government when they facilitate apprenticeships and traineeships. 

“Taking on apprentices and trainees is a long-term investment. Savvy employers can maximise the financial support available from the Government, to reduce the upfront costs of training someone new.”

“Employers are able to come to Apprenticeship Support Australia for advice, and support to help identify which qualifications suit your business. There are over 500 qualifications available to choose from, so there is definitely something for everyone.”

There has been a major five per cent decline in hospitality traineeships since May 2016, even though the industry is in high demand for these qualifications.

Constantine says training produces a more productive workforce and longevity and loyalty from employees.

The TSS visa will include increased English language requirements, stricter labour market testing and a test to ensure employers are not discriminating against Australian workers.

From March next year, employers nominating a worker for a TSS visa will be required to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund to support additional education and training for Australian workers.

Dutton says employers must continue to show they are making every effort to employ and train Australians in their businesses.

For more information on apprenticeship and traineeship packages, skills in demand and employer incentive eligibility, visit the Apprenticeship Support Australia website or call 1300 363 831.