Oz advisory firms concerned by visa changes

Members of Australia’s Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) have expressed concerned that recent changes made to Australia’s immigration programme may detrimentally affect Australia’s ability to attract high calibre global talent.

The AESC members, who are drawn from the top executive search and leadership advisory firms across Australia, state that often firms needed to step outside Australia to tap into overseas talent or Australians who have built careers overseas.

“We are collectively concerned that the mooted changes to Australia’s Skilled Worker Visa arrangements will impact access to the global executive talent pool,” said Graham Willis, AESC Chair for Australia. “On a daily basis, our members are dealing with the deep executive talent pools that exist within Australia. However, these talent pools do not always offer the depth of executive experience needed to meet the future needs of a business. With executive recruitment now a global story and given rapid disruptive changes in the market, Australian companies must ensure they are globally competitive.”

The changes the AESC is most concerned by are the decision to abolish the Temporary Work 457 visa, to be replaced with the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, and the extension of age limits for permanent 186 visas. This will set a new maximum age limit of 45 years old for executive-level professionals, significantly restricting Australia’s access to 45+ year old top senior executive talent.

“The AESC’s central concern is that the proposed visa changes will serve to restrict onshoring of key leaders and access to specific and specialised skills in the global market,” continued Willis. “The skills and background required for successful senior level appointments cannot always be found locally, and for businesses to gain a competitive advantage in their increasingly global industries, mobilisation of executive talent across borders is critical.”

AESC members also expressed concern about the proposal to establish a new two-year renewable visa—only able to be renewed once—and the closing of pathways to permanent residency status for some senior executives. “The view of our profession generally is that a two-year visa will likely create unnecessary and often irreconcilable risk both for Australian companies whose investors seek leadership certainty while, at the same time, top candidates seek both flexible, and long term contracts, of more than four years duration.”

Article published 5th June 2017