Staff Retention – Another Way to Achieve the Dream

Staff Retention – Another Way to Achieve the Dream

The Australian labour force is an interesting one. On one hand the nightly news raves about rising unemployment rates but on the other hand almost all business owners and operators have trouble finding and keeping good staff. Of course there are some things that a company has to do for themselves to make sure they are attracting the right sort of person and incentivising them properly but even if you chose to invest into expensive culture specialists, change managers and recruiters, at the end of the day the current Australian labour force is not loyal and staff more often than not will take the first opportunity to jump ship if they are offered even the slightest of a raise. If this is not something you have experienced in your business, great! But if it is, here is a solution you may not have thought about.

Australian businesses can fill vacancies with skilled workers who are not Australian permanent residents. The nightly news does their best to make business think this is a tremendously difficult and expensive process so they aren’t seen as betraying the Australian labour market but the truth of the matter is, recruiting and retaining skilled workers who do not have Australian permanent residency can be a viable no nonsense option for more Australian businesses than realise it.

At this point you’re probably sceptical, fair enough. So now is a good time to consider the failsafe’s that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have implemented to ensure only quality candidates are eligible for this visa. This can be split up into 3 topics; English language abilities, skills, salary and character.

Skills: Do you think a tradie or professional with experience / training from say Sri Lanka might have a different education/skill level than someone who has studied and worked in Australia? So does the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol. For this reason many skilled migrants who have years of work experience in their field choose to start their studies over in Australia. This means you might be able to secure a candidate with a Bachelor from overseas, 5 years’ experience from overseas and then a more recent Australian qualifications to make sure any gaps are filled. For those that don’t study in Australia, there are extensive work reference checks and skill assessment processes that they must go through to get the stamp of approval. The moral of the story, if your candidate is the right candidate for the visa, their skills are legitimate.

English Language Ability: Applicants who are not from USA, Canada, UK or Ireland, or who have not studied 5 years’ in the English language have to sit an English language test with rather high standards. These measures are in place to prove that even if your candidate can talk well enough in an interview they can also read and write well enough to ensure they won’t become a workplace health and safety hazard.

Salary: There is a visa program where sponsors have to pay their workers at least $53,900 p.a. + superannuation. This 100% takes a lot of jobs off the table and you should definitely not assume that this rules your business out of being able to access these skilled workers. There are other visa streams where the only requirement for salary, is that it is legal and comparable to what your other employees doing the same tasks earn / what the Australian market pays.

Character: Based on recent changes in migration laws, all sponsored temporary workers need to present police checks from every country they have lived in for one year or more in the last 12 months. The Department make sure no undesirables get granted the visa.

So other than a qualified worker, what else can the visa scheme offer your workplace? STAFF RETENTION! Sponsored work visas mean the person’s visa is tied to the employment so if they choose to leave your employment to see if the grass is greener, their visa will not necessarily follow them. The increase that this brings to staff retention is unparalleled. Of course this can be a recipe for disaster for workers to be taken advantage of so the Department have introduced protection measure to avoid these situations such as spot checks to make sure you are paying your workers per their employment contracts and checking that the salary offered is in line with Awards and market rates.

Ok so maybe you’re interested in the program, but how do you find the right person? A recruiter who charges 20% commission? I vote no. Alternatives to this include; not dismissing the resume of someone who says they have a temporary visa and has responded to your advertisement or more directly to contact migration agents/ lawyers who have a direct line of communication with job seekers who have not yet secured permanent residency. When I say this process can be quick and easy I 100% mean that you need the assistance of a professional.

So how much does it cost? There are many different visa options, too many to list here, but as a general rule the government fees a sponsoring business has to pay shouldn’t be more than $420 once off and $330 per person on top of that. The fees for the migration lawyer to assist? In our experience, often the worker is happy to cover this expense to further incentivise you. Typically a worker has to stay with you for 3 years to gain their PR but again, there are many different visa streams so you should obtain advice specific to an individual’s circumstances.

The Lawyers and Agents of Cornerstone Global Migration have over 13 years’ migration law experience and offer free 20 minute consultations to businesses and individuals who need migration advice. They also offer recruitment services which connect skilled workers with potential visa sponsors. Call them for more information and to see if this could be the solution your business has been looking for.

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