THE TRUMP EFFECT: CLAMP DOWN ON WORK VISAS
Baahir Atwal | On 21, Dec 2016
Populist sentiment is sweeping across the world following Donald Trump’s victory, and Australia is no exception. In order to cater to this, lawmakers are considering a clamp down on Work Visa 457. As we see in this article, this can have serious ramifications for the food and tourism industry.
The rise of nationalist and populist tendencies in the ‘countries that matter’ – i.e.: The United States and the United Kingdom, evidenced by Donald Trump’s surprise Presidential win and also the Brexit referendum earlier in the year, have sent similar shockwaves to Australia in its immigration policy.
More specifically, the government has planned a crackdown on Visa 457, also known as work visas. The reason for this is to resist growing perceived anti-immigration sentiment growing within Australia.
However, this will have a knock-on effect on the economy, as the nation’s top business people and economists are saying. For instance, the food industry, that has been burgeoning in Australia thanks mainly to foreign cuisines and foreign chefs making their presence felt in our country, will suddenly face a thorny immigration problem.
The other issue, of course, is that not many people in Australia really want to become chefs. Whether it is socially difficult work hours or the perception of low status, in spite of the tremendous success of shows such as Master Chef, the uptake of Australians into the chef industry has been quite low compared to demand. So the remaining slots have been traditionally filled with people coming in from other countries on work visas.
Also, there is cultural difference in how chefs are seen in Australia: though in the US chefs are considered rockstars and the most important part of a restaurant, in Australia, the overwhelming sentiment has been to treat them as little more than cooks. This also might explain lawmakers’ oversight of this profession in making this decision.
All in all, we hope that the booming food industry – which also feeds into our tourism industry and is a huge part of our economy – does not get overly affected by this work visa clamp down.