What Australia’s tech leaders are saying about the 457 visa changes

Technology, you’re welcome. Picture: Getty Images

The Australian tech industry has a new visa scheme from which to draw talent.

A new visa, which goes some way to wards replacing the 457 visa scheme which ended yesterday, will be issued through the Global Talent Scheme on a trial basis.

The GTS will run for 12 months, and an “open-ended” number will be issued, after being individually vetted by government and industry.

There is no occupation list restrictions, and if it passes the trial phase, workers will be able to apply for permananet residency after three years.

However, it will only be available to companies that generate more than $4 million a year in revenue and can pay employees more than $180,000 a year.

Still, the changes have been largely welcomed as a positive start by the Australian tech industry. Here’s what a few of the leading voices have said today:

Tim Bos, co-founder of ShareRing

“This is a great opportunity to bring highly skilled and experienced labour into Australia and to utilise that labour to pass knowledge on to our junior staff, who are often hired straight out of university.”

“An issue we face is in finding people with a lot of experience in the areas of blockchain, telematics and sensors, but if we are given the option to hire this talent from overseas, it would be hugely beneficial to our knowledge growth and overall business prosperity.”

StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley

“Being able to access the right kind of talent quickly is the core challenge for fast-growing technology companies and startups in Australia. Thanks to input from StartupAUS and others, there’s now a ‘startup stream’ which will help genuine startups access these new favourable arrangements too. That’s a real win for the sector and for companies looking to hire top quality global talent to help them grow.

“These changes should help young Australian tech businesses compete more effectively on the global stage. That will allow them to grow quickly and hire more Australians across the business. It’s a good bet that everyone hired on one of these visas will be a net job creator for Australians.”

“As part of the vetting process for this and future pilot schemes, startups will need to be identified by an expert group, which is working closely with the startup community. The important thing is that there remains close industry collaboration and consultation.”

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, founders, Atlassian:

Nick Byrne, CEO of Typehuman

“This is a significant move by the Australian government. Global mobility has never been higher for experienced technology workers, so this is a step in the right direction when it comes to making Australia an easy and attractive destination for talented technology workers.

“For a startup, the 457 visa was costly, and overly restrictive. We hope that this scheme makes it easier for startups to sponsor people to come and work in Australia, and that the government takes a broader view on what constitutes an eligible individual for a visa.

“Startups require generalist skillsets which have been hard to justify under the 457 scheme, resulting in stories of co-founders and CTOs being denied visas in the past.”