Visa Reform. What Does it Mean for SAP?

Posted on September 2017 By Jack Bland
Visa Reform. What Does it Mean for SAP?

The 457 visa has been scrapped. What does that mean for the SAP market in Australia?

Out with the old.

From 1 July 2017, the temporary work visa 457 was abolished as part of the government’s reforms to employer sponsored skilled migration visas. In its place is a new system called the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

In with the new.

The TSS system allows temporary work visas of up to two years for skilled occupations that appear on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), and up to four years for skilled occupations on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Only the MLTSSL offers a route to permanent residency.

What does it mean for you?

The majority of SAP skills are on the MLTSSL. That means that nothing much really changes for international SAP workers. In fact, companies have greater freedom regarding training expenditure than they did under the 457 so they may find the new system slightly easier, provided they can pay the new fee structures.

What’s best for Australia?

It’s not just about employment opportunities. It’s also about keeping Australian businesses competitive and the economy strong, while also educating and training local talent to make them more employable. This is obviously a very fine balancing act, strict immigration rules can be damaging to Australian business as they cannot hire difficult skill sets. Sometimes the best SAP talent simply isn’t available in Australia, and that is why the visa system is so important. A relaxed visa policy however can make it more competitive and difficult for Australian citizens looking for work.

So does the new Visa System Solve any of these problems?

Some SAP Jobs have been removed from the list or have no route to Permanent Residency so it could be argued that there may be more opportunities for Australians, however the majority still remain so that by itself is unlikely to make a huge difference to the market.

We also have to ask the question; how does a 2-year visa without any route to permanent residency help attract the best talent? Genuine candidates will surely look elsewhere, to countries that offer long-term stability and the chance to grow and develop their careers. Conversely, anyone happy with a 2-year stint is probably only here for an extended holiday. Why have a visa system not aimed at attracting the best talent?

Additionally, global companies still have the ability to sponsor people on visas and pay them as part of their overseas payroll, which can be a lower rate than what Australian companies pay. This issue was not addressed in the Government’s ‘reform’.

In summary

While it’s hard to see any logic in a two-year visa, the MLTSSL is, for all intents and purposes, a rebranded version of the 457 visa. Overall we feel that the impact to the SAP market in general will be negligible.

This article is the opinion of the author. If you are investigating a visa to work in Australia, or you’re a business that wants to recruit offshore, please consult with an accredited migration professional to get the most current advice available.