find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Lawyers welcome visa reforms

Lawyers welcome visa reforms

Map

Several migration lawyers have praised the federal government’s changes to the 457 and 186 visa programs, saying they will make more opportunities available for Australian jobseekers.

Anne O’Donoghue, principal and director of Immigration Solutions Lawyers in Sydney, told Lawyers Weekly that the reduction of the range of jobs available for 457 visa holders will encourage employers to hire from the local market.

“I think this policy [is] trying to provide a skilled workforce for the skills Australia needs, but at the same time still giving Australian citizens or permanent residents or younger Australians the opportunity to be trained and work within the new framework, so it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, but I think change did need to take place,” Ms O’Donoghue said.

“It may not please everyone, [for example if] you’re an employer and occupations are no longer on the list for a 457 visa, but then it’s designed for you to look to the Australian workforce.”

Maria Jockel, legal principal and national leader of migration services at BDO, said the changes will improve the quality and integrity of Australia’s skilled migration programs.

“It is a response to the overwhelming demand for temporary and permanent entry to Australia, and the high-profile reporting of exploitation of foreign workers, including 7-Eleven and Caltex,” she said.

Holders of Temporary Skill Shortage visas, which will come into effect in March 2018, will be unable to gain permanent residency. However, Ms O’Donoghue believes migrants will not be deterred by shorter stays.

“I don’t think it will discourage people from coming at all, because a lot of people want to come for a short period of time and then go back,” she said.

“Under the new system, you may only be looking at a one- or two-year visa, and then perhaps one more extension … and I suppose that’s what the government wants. They want to basically fill fairly short-term working vacancies where the Australian labour market can’t fulfil those short-term spots.”

Ms O’Donoghue said better education will be needed to bring Australian candidates up to speed. She said the restrictions may present particular difficulties in the hospitality industry, where international experience can be highly valuable.

“I’m looking at the high end of the restaurant market, and I’m looking at situations like cafe or restaurant managers that can’t move now to permanent residency,” she said.

“European training in this area is well-known and well-regarded, and whether in the time frame that we’ve got here you’d be able to get Australian people up to that level is another matter.

As well as benefiting Australian jobseekers, Ms O’Donoghue said the changes will generate a lot of work for migration lawyers as clients navigate the complex regime.

“People need lawyers more than ever in this particular environment,” she said.

“Everyone thinks it’s quite simple to do a visa application, you just lodge it online, but it’s the policy that underpins all this and the attention to detail and the emergence of, say, PIC 4020 in relation to any visa application [that make it complex].

“I think lawyers practising at a high standard will be very much in demand in this particular market [with] these changes that have come in.”

However, the government has been criticised for leaving lawyers on the list of professionals eligible for skilled visas. Marque Lawyers managing partner Michael Bradley told The Australian Financial Review that Australia has “more than enough solicitors”.

The federal government also announced changes to the Australian citizenship test yesterday. These include an increase of the residency requirement from one year to four, a test of applicants’ English proficiency and questions to gauge their values.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers welcome visa reforms
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...