What you need to know about the 457 Visa

Finding and keeping staff in the hospitality sector is hard.It’s hands-on work, often with challenging hours. To help supplement local workers and help address turnover issues; many cafes and restaurants have sought to employ international chefs and other key staff.

Hiring international workers, and dealing with the bureaucracy associated with visas, is not without its own set of challenges. To help get your head around the process for hiring international workers, let’s look at the most common visa type used by hospitality businesses and some recent updates around this.

The 457 visa

Many café owners may already be aware of the 457 visa, which is the most common visa for Australian employers to sponsor skilled international workers to work temporarily in the country. The visa provides a valuable way for cafes to hire key workers (like head chefs) and ensure they have the right staff, with the right skills to make their business succeed.

But it’s important to know that there have been some changes to the visa lately, the most significant being that the 457 visa was actually abolished in March 2018, and has now been replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. There’s no need to worry though, as the new TSS visa is not too different from the 457.  Those who currently have a 457 visa or have already lodged an application will not be affected by this change, but new applicants will now have to apply for the TSS visa.

Here is a breakdown of how the new TSS visa works for the hospitality industry:

  • The TSS visa is only accessible for full time positions.
  • There is a new requirement of 2 years of relevant full-time experience, or equivalent of part time experience (casual work experience is not accepted).
  • The 2-year TSS visa (which can be extended with a further onshore application for another 2-year TSS visa) is available for the occupations of Cook, Café & Restaurant Manager, and Baker & Pastry Cook, with transition to Permanent Residency available in regional areas only.
  • The 4-year TSS visa is available for the occupation of Chef, with transition to Permanent Residency available in regional and metropolitan areas.

One of the biggest impacts from the changes to the visa is to the advertising of these roles. Employers must be able to prove they have tested the local market to find an employee and have found no one suitable. The new Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirements must be undertaken within four months immediately prior to a visa nomination being lodged, and the advertisement must run for at least four weeks and have been published at least twice across different mediums (such as in print media, professional recruitment websites or LinkedIn’s online recruitment page). This change is something café owners need to be aware of, as it delays the process of lodging applications of sponsorship.

While employing international workers can be very valuable to café owners and the TSS visa can be a great way to ensure you hire people with the right skills, it is crucial to understand the new regulations involved in the process. Visit the Home Affairs website to find out more.