While the business community was stunned by the sudden axing of 457 visas earlier this year, one industry leader suggests there is a silver lining for Aussie SMEs.
Most of the commentary around the 457 temporary work visa scheme has been focused on skilled workers at a grassroots level, however as head of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Russell Zimmerman notes, CEOs and company executives are also facing the axe.
“Most of the big retailers that have come out here to Australia – so I talk about the H&Ms and I talk about the Zaras and many others … have generally brought in their own CEO and often their own finance people,” Mr Zimmerman told My Business.
“Right at the moment, under a 457 visa, one of the headline items that’s in there is ‘CEOs: there will be some restrictions on CEOs being brought in’.”
He added: “If I was setting up an organisation in Australia, I would certainly want to bring in senior people from my overseas operation, put them in place when I start my business.”
While speaking critically of this situation from the context of growing industry as a whole, Mr Zimmerman’s comments suggest that local businesses – particularly SMEs – may enjoy a reprieve from the onslaught of foreign competitors arriving on our shores.
“Under the current structure of the government, there will be some problems for overseas retailers who want to set up in Australia.”
Of course, the situation applies not just to retailers but virtually to all industries where executive managers are brought in from overseas.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.