Death of the 457 Recruiter…

death1Ouch. That’s blunt. After all, wasn’t Recruiter protected under the new visa guidelines released last month? Not like the unfortunate Goat Farmer… Potter… or Archaeologist… who sadly are no longer deemed worthy of such an honour.

We all rejoiced and breathed a long… satisfying sigh of relief and promptly choofed off to Ryan’s Bar…. Or the Mitre Tavern for a celebratory pint. It was business as usual right? Wrong.

Look… I am not going to attempt to explain what is going to happen to Recruiters on existing 457’s. I don’t think anyone knows really… Are you protected by a ‘Grandfather Clause’ where the conditions of your current visa allow you move employers… work your 2 years and apply for PR… I don’t know? Will you be subjected to the same conditions laid out in the new visa scheme? I don’t know.

I tell you what – on that front you will probably get better advice from comments on this thread… so please add your knowledge… tag a Migration Specialist… and skip to the bottom…

What I want to talk about is Recruiters applying for a visa on the new scheme.

Recruiter as a profession has been placed on the STSOL (Short term skilled occupations list)

death3What that means is that you can apply for a 2 year visa… and an extension for another 2 years… then that’s it. You are repatriated and have to leave our sunny shores forever… no more weekends away to the Great Ocean Road… Blue Mountains… Gold Coast or even Big Pineapple… you’re gonski. At best you’ll have a 3 day leaving do… and rock up to the Qantas departure lounge with a massive hangover… and have to fork out big bucks for all of your excess luggage.

But that’s hardly the death of a 457 Recruiter right? Wrong again.

Think about it. Ostensibly (I love that word ostensibly… it shows just that right level of command of the english language without being a pretentious twat)…. So… ostensibly the new regulations are inviting nothing more than a long term backpacking trip.

The holy grail for most Recruiters was the ability to gain their PR. Many uprooted their family… or at the very least made the decision to leave their family to start a new life in Australia and forge out a career. And now that opportunity has been taken away.

Think about it. If you were a career Recruiter would you move to the other side of the world only to know you would be kicked out after a finite period of time?

And what about Employers? The allure of investing in a 457 Recruiter was the golden handshake of Permanent Residency. In an industry where the average tenure is 11 months… that’s right 11 months… there was an opportunity to invest in a professional for a minimum of 2 years as an avenue to their PR. Now there is no such pathway.

death2Call me an hysterical, toy thrower outerer (I know it’s not a real word even before spell check told me) of the pram charlatan. But the quality of Recruiters in this country will suffer under these new visa regulations. We will not attract the best global talent (because they can’t bloody stay and the career focused ones won’t come). And the majority those that do come will treat it as an extended holiday. There will be an increase in hangover related sickies… our deplorable retention rate will get worse… candidate and client care will suffer. Why? Because it’s basically a working holiday…

Look. I know there are obvious benefits to the new visa scheme. Investment in local talent for one. But the recruitment industry in Australia needs career global Recruiters to continue developing. And now that opportunity is gone… dead.


Craig Watson


7 thoughts on “Death of the 457 Recruiter…

  1. Craig Colvin on Reply

    If the talent pool is shrinking then your service should be worth more, your fees should be going up and all recruiters currently here and having a PR should rejoice that their market value internally, externally and fees should be going up. Silver lining for me Mr Watson.

  2. Martin Sharman on Reply

    Couldn’t agree more Craig. It’s seems a narrow sighted view of trying to open job opportunities for Australians has not factored it the professions that actually find Australians work, create jobs and support the growth of small Australian businesses.

    These changes will cripple the industry, reduce jobs and leave Turnbull sailing into an IT industrial revolution without a skilled workforce to execute it. Tax payers money up in flames once again.

  3. Jenny on Reply

    Completely agree Craig. If you’re a recruiter who wants to visit Australia why wouldn’t you just hang up your recruitment boots for a bit and come out on a working holiday Visa and do bar work etc. At least that way you’re not tied to one place Monday-Friday and you can pack up your bags and explore the country as you wish to. If you’re here as a Recruiter you’re planted Mon-Friday in one place with just 20 days holiday a year to explore.

  4. Ben on Reply

    Considering I was one of the fortunate people to come to Australia and later get PR as a Recruiter, I was surprised (and still am) that it appeared on a skills shortage list in the first place! Why there is a ‘need’ to ship people from overseas to do this role is beyond me. In theory you could argue that there must be a skills shortage of recruiters in the UK as they are all here, but we all know that is not the truth because the UK keeps bringing new people into the industry and developing them. Now is the time for Australia to do that it would seem.

    As for people not moving here if the option has been taken away to stay permanently, I don’t personally believe that. I know very few people that came here specifically to get PR (or even really knew it was an option) in Recruitment and I think the numbers will still flow, we’ll just be saying goodbye to people more people that we used too!

  5. Stan Relihan on Reply

    Very true. But all is not lost – 4 years is long enough to fall in love and get married …

    Expect to see an increase in UK Recruiters marrying Aussies. ?

  6. Jamie Lingham on Reply

    Your are spot-on with the extended working holiday maker visa, although the bonus is you don’t have to do the 88-days farm work for the second visa. With this announcement, Australia has restricted its main attraction and retention strategy, Permanent Residency (PR).

    The reality is that this is has been a broad-brush political decision that has no consideration for the practical realities of business. The good news is that both lists change, the short-term list every six months and the medium-term list every 12 months, so there is a chance that Recruiters can one-day, hope to be in the running for PR again, it will just be a significant amount of lobbying that will get it there.

  7. Ciara Kenny on Reply

    I used to work in International Rec to Rec (moving Irish recruiters into oz, nz ) and was tied to a Migration Specialist here so went through cradle to grave processes with people applying.

    An immediate affect this will trigger will be the age demographic of Recruiters heading to oz. Globals can transfer experienced Managers/ADs over on internal visas etc but the 25-30 will still likely explore the option.
    However, we are already experiencing a return of Irish and UK recruiters here as our economy improves – like the US in the 1800s, Ireland will now remain intrinsically to Australia due to the volume of people who have travelled, explored, stayed and have friends/partners/children still living there. So this invisible bridge that we feel, will impact us here ..(although Canada has won out to most young people I’ve heard moving abroad). Australia is just that bit too far for some…

    We’re still awaiting fallout of Brexit but the market here for Recruiters is good, especially if you’re in FS/IT recruitment which, thankfully has become more global-centric since the recession. We had to find our clients elsewhere and a loyal SAP PMs customer in Berlin is worth his weight in gold and we will certainly now go the mountain…its just extra beneficial that our local clients are now also giving us shedloads of work.

    The entire Recruitment profession needs to pull itself up by its bootstraps and engage with grad level people to ensure we have well trained and inducted positive career recruiters. Some will go Corporate and prefer it – get over it. I am. They will grow and learn as professionals (good for the industry)..some will return to agency with more rounded views on how to deliver better. Others will drink the Kool-Aid and become our clients..ultimately we don’t lose out, do we?

    Im 41, too late for me now and I did enjoy a short stint in oz and look forward to exploring it more with my kids.

    What will be interesting to see will be the initial engagement piece for recruiter-candidates; will businesses invest in them less and just take what they see and use it, assuming people will move on after the 2 year period (just as they start to make money for a business and make an impact in their vertical) or will businesses look for commitment for the next 2 year tranche at the midway point (its still too short a time to stay for a dangled really remain as a credible option internally) Yes , you’re the Manager, but people know you’re leaving…so….

    A long piece but this has really stirred memories experiences and feelings. With family and friends living all over oz and nz, I still take an active interest in all things ozzie!!

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