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New Global Talent Scheme visa pilot - Ai Group comment

"The Global Talent Scheme visa trial announced today puts Australia in a more competitive position to attract the world's best talent," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox said today.

"The visa's focus on higher end talent and STEM skills will be welcome to the many businesses and start ups that are struggling to fill these types of positions locally. It also acknowledges the global nature of many of our businesses and will hopefully allow for the freer movement of employees between and within these enterprises.

"The focus of the new pilot on attracting talent here who can pass on their skills to help build the capacity of our own workforce is a positive for business and the economy.

"The promised simpler and faster application process is also an attractive aspect of the visa pilot, especially as there have been increasingly long delays with approvals for the former 457 visa.

"Today also marks the end of the 457 visa and the formal start of its replacement the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.

"During the transition to the TSS visa there have been a number of teething problems including the removal of certain occupations from skills lists and the restrictions on permanent residency. Many of these problems have been addressed but there will no doubt be further issues around skill categories which will require the Government to be responsive and flexible, especially given the changing nature of our workplaces.

"We are also conscious of the cost issues for many businesses related to the pending introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund levy for TSS visas. Businesses should at least be eligible for a proportionate refund of the levy should the visa holder leave early or transfer employers.

"While there should be flexibility in its application, the new TSS visa deserves bipartisan support. This would help deliver much-needed continuity for a visa scheme that has faced extensive scrutiny and disruptive change in recent years," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347