Female shop assistant arranging a clothes shop display

Major changes to the 457 Visa and Employer Nomination Scheme have created concern amongst employers and employees in the retail industry.

In a bid to protect Australian jobs, the stricter guidelines introduced by the Australian Government will make it much more difficult to obtain the 457 visa, which so far has worked effectively, according to Robert Walsh from immigration firm Fragomen.

“The vast majority of companies using the 457 program and the individual holders of these visas have fully complied with the program’s requirements. Importantly, the 457 visa program has made it clear to the world that Australia is open for business,” he explains.

“However, the 457 program has been caught up in the allegations of abuse of temporary visa holders in some sectors, largely involving visas other than the 457 visa. Any changes must ensure the integrity of the program and support within the Australian community is maintained.”

One of the main concerns amongst employers is whether they can retain their current workforce and continue to employ people from overseas, says Walsh.

457 visa

“With such significant changes to these visa classes it is important to know how the changes will affect individual employees and their families, companies and their sponsorship arrangements.

“For example, the combined occupation lists have been significantly shortened from 651 to 435 occupations in total with 216 occupations removed and restricted access to 59 other occupations, now subject to caveats based on factors such as the occupation itself; location, size and nature of the business; proposed base salary; and minimum level of experience required,” he adds.

Walsh also points out that the new occupations list will impact all lodged 457 nominations and visas that are still being processed.

“This may mean these applications may need to be withdrawn and an assessment made as to whether a new 457 application can be lodged based on a new occupation. The amendments will also impact employees who currently hold 457 visas in terms of eligibility for a further visa application.

“The changes are many and complex and we know how stressful it is for many people from overseas working in Australia or companies with a workforce supported by employees on 457 visas. Getting the right advice is critical so that those impacted can work out what their options are and to plan ahead,” he says.

This story originally appeared on Giftguide.

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