Stone and Chalk CEO tackles 457 visa ban

  • By Christine St Anne

The fintech sector has launched a scoping study to understand the full impact of the changes following the government’s decision to ban the 457 visa. 

The day after the government’s announcement, FinTech Australia and StartupAUS sent a survey to their membership base to get a better understanding of how the changes will affect startups. 

On Tuesday, the government said that a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) work visa will replace the Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa from March 2018. 

The government believes that the new measures will reduce misuse and improve flexibility by responding better to economic and business changes. The new visa will have added requirements, including previous work experience, better English language skills and labour market testing. A new training fund will also be established.

The changes also bring a significant reduction in the number of occupations eligible for both the 457 Visa and the new TSS Visa, which has already come into effect.

In a statement, Fintech Australian and StartupAUS noted that: “occupation lists exclude a number of occupations that the start-up community tend to use. Jobs no longer on the list - such as web developers - will not be approved”.
 

Human capital

Commenting on the government’s move, Alex Scandurra, chief executive of Stone and Chalk (pictured), said that it was important that the industry had access to the right skills and experience. 

"The experience of many of our residents at Stone and Chalk is that talent can be extremely hard to find. If we want to develop the next generation of global fintech leaders we have to support them – and that includes creating an environment where they can access the human capital they need,” he said.

Scandurra said that not only is there a shortfall of new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent at a junior level in Australia, there is an even bigger gap when it comes to finding seasoned entrepreneurs, or people with solid experience in a range of roles that have worked in high-growth tech companies.

“There is massive global competition for people with these skills and, whichever solution Australia adopts, it need to be one that makes it as attractive as possible for great people to come to Australia and as easy as possible for small companies with little resources (startups and SMEs) to bring them over," he said.

“Getting this right could be an important differentiator for Australia and could help to accelerate economic growth and jobs creation."

Outside the fintech sector, the 457 visa ban will have implications for the broader financial services sector. For a sector that has a tradition of hiring from overseas, the government initiative will also mean a great focus on hiring local candidates. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the changes will ensure that Australians were given a priority over overseas candidates.  

“This no doubt will have an impact on the hiring of overseas candidates for specialist areas like technology and digital, risk and compliance, analytics and institutional banking where traditionally we see more consideration of overseas candidates,” Randstad account director of banking and financial services, Andrew McKissock, told AB+F.