The talent is knocking, so why is Australia locking the doors?

To march into the future, you need generals leading the pack who are skilled, knowledgeable and forward-thinking. The workforce needs those leaders, the ones to fill in skill gaps and help to pull businesses into the global arena. Sometimes it’s possible to find those people around us, bright eyed and ready to jump into work, carrying their briefcase of tricks. Sometimes, however, you have to look beyond.

It may be because you are unable to find someone with the suitable skills locally, whether it’s because they lack experience of have not been exposed to technologies and systems which are more prominent overseas. It may be because the position does not attract local interest, with local workers not interested in the role. Sometimes you have to look overseas to find the soldiers and leaders your business needs to succeed.

Australia is still an expanding country, and we have skill shortages just like other countries. As a result, we need international talent, and we can afford to accommodate an increased population, although in more populated areas the current infrastructure may need to be updated (which in turn creates more jobs).

Australia should encourage those who are actively skilled to come to our country and share their knowledge.

It’s not just skilled people coming to Australia, Australians are looking to work overseas, taking the opportunity to learn new skills and experience new ideas. They are looking to work in other countries, to build the life experience that education cannot offer. When they eventually return to Australia, it’s with fresh ideas and innovations, as they integrate back into the local workforce.

So while our best and brightest go abroad, why should we not invite the same into our country? We should be encouraging those with the necessary skills to join our workforce. The argument that overseas workers are stealing our jobs does not hold up when you consider the numbers of skilled Australia workers who also go overseas – my understanding is that there is a net difference of around 200K (500K coming into the country, and 300K skilled Australian’s leaving).

Who is an Australian? The government introduced changed to the 457 visa in an attempt to restrict skilled migration and put Australian’s first, however the majority of Australian’s are first or second generation, they may have migrated to the country when they were children, or their parents made the move, possibly even their grandparents. In fact a lot of those people who come into the country on a skilled visa are looking for the pathway to citizenship so that they can make their stay permanent.

One of the biggest issues with the changes to the visa system is that is has made this pathway to staying in Australia more difficult. Skilled workers whose occupation falls onto the short-stay list have limited options for Permanent Residency, and as a result Australia may lose those skills, with people unwilling to pick up their life and move across the world for a short stay.
Did you know that currently one third of CEOs in the ASX100 were born overseas? That the person who is in charge of the NBN is an American who is in the country on a 457 visa?

To ignore the potential and knowledge that people from other countries can bring to Australia, passing these ideas on to Australian co-workers, and eventually taking the steps to take on the Australian identity, is narrow minded.

Introducing stricter caveats to ensure that workers are paid a certain salary, and creating stricter English test requirements are not the issue. The issue lays within the concept of welcome, and no person is going to feel welcome in a country on the other side of the world where they know that they will be kicked out in two years and there is nothing they can do about it.

If you have the skills that Australia is looking for, see if Pendragon Management can help you… talk to us

Post by Pendragon

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