Talented overseas scientists are turning down job offers for research positions from prestigious companies in Australia, following the federal government’s changes to 457 visa scheme.
One of Australia’s top medical research heads said, at least six institutes have had their job offers rejected by star scientists abroad following the federal government’s recent visa overhaul. Tony Cunningham, President of Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes has raised an alarm following the last month changes, which saw hundreds of jobs cut from the list of eligible occupations.
Hundreds of other occupations now stand on a restricted list, which offers a visa for two years instead of four, and cuts off any pathway to permanent residency.
Cunningham told SBS World News, “In many cases we find that those people who come here are so valuable that we want to keep them. We run the risk of people leaving after two years and leaving us in the lurch, in the middle of excellent funded research projects.”
American researcher Sarah Palmer, 57, has been working in Australia for five years to develop a cure for HIV told SBS World News, “For my sort of research it would not be possible to come for two years and really to set up the full research plan. It would definitely make me think twice about coming to Australia that is true; in fact I probably would not have come.”
See: Australia Scraps 457 Visa Program, Gives Priority to its Countrymen
While Dr Palmer is one of the renowned researchers in her field, she’s worried about what will happen when her 457 visa runs out in 2020. Having applied for visa under the “life scientist” category, this has now been abolished as part of the recent changes.
To initiate serious action further in this regard, with skilled talent for niche research positions declining job offers The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes met with the Immigration Department Australia to necessitate possible exemptions.
According to Cunningham, the major problem is about three or four occupations not in the medium-term list, to include life scientist, bio-statistician and a couple of others like the biotechnologist. Perhaps, the government should look at putting back these roles to the occupation list or follow the route what some countries have done such as having a special science visa.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton hinted earlier that some exemptions could be possible, wherein highly skilled talent is required to work for medical research institutes, tertiary hospitals or university research projects etc.
Some of the largest MNCs also believe the two-year restriction is also limiting Australian companies from finding the best talent for chief executive roles.
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