Restaurenters push for changes to employer-sponsored visas

Top names in Australia’s culinary / restaurant industry have been lobbying the Australian govt to make changes to the employer-sponsored visa system in order to counteract crippling skills shortages in the restaurant industry.

Neil Perry, who heads Australia’s largest fine-dining group, Lucio Galetto of Sydney’s Lucio’s and Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo met with with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last week to lobby for changes to skilled visa requirements to allow employers to more readily sponsor a wide range of staff, from chefs, sommeliers and maitre d’s to bar staff and – given the drift to seafood restaurants – fishmongers.

Tetsuya Wakuda, Guillaume Brahimi and Serge Dansereau back the push. News of the move coincided with an announcement by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday that employer-sponsored visas for skilled migrants would be central to a Coalition government migration program. According to the group’s submission to the minister, some restaurants now face a 25 to 35 per cent skill shortage, affecting their ability to function properly even at present levels. “I’m creating 100 jobs [in Melbourne],” Mr Perry said. “I employ 520 staff and that’s going to 620 Australia-wide. If it was a car company going to the government with that many staff they’d give me $30 million.” The group argues that changes to visa requirements from July 1 will only exacerbate the shortage, limiting employers’ scope to claim exemptions from English-language requirements to ministers of religion and certain scientists. “Why,” Mr Percuoco asked. “Pasta doesn’t speak English.”

Category: Australian Visas
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