AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY AT RISK

The Australian hospitality industry is at risk following the Turnbull government’s “Australian jobs for Australians first” policy, which has led to the abolition of the Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa programme. The four-year visa will be replaced by a two-year alternative, with no pathway to permanent residency.

Job search company Indeed noted a 10 percent decrease in searches almost immediately after the government announced the crackdown on foreign workers, echoing the concerns of prominent chefs such as Neil Perry, who argued that the changes would hobble the local dining scene.

Chris McDonald, managing director of Indeed Australia-New Zealand, said that if the Australian government decided to abolish the 457 scheme altogether, it would make it difficult for the hospitality industry to grow Australia’s reputation as a foodie destination.

“In some cases there were restrictions on chefs, cooks, bakers and managers and leading industry figures have raised concerns about barriers to hiring quality front-of-house staff that are critical to the success of quality restaurants,” he said. “Visa restrictions that make it more difficult to address legitimate skills shortages would not only undermine an area so important to the Australian economy but could see us miss out on the talents of the next Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal.”

Peter Dutton, the MP behind the controversial move, has said that the government will continue to adjust policy settings until all parties are satisfied.