457 fallout: now ‘exceptional’ international talent to face delays
Businesses facing obstacles recruiting workers following the 457 reforms are being advised to use the 'distinguished talent' visa, even though just 200 of these visas are granted each year.
Opportunities to recruit international leaders in sport, art or research may be lost by a predicted overloading of the distinguished talent visa program caused by the 457 reforms.
The government is maintaining its ceiling of 200 places for the distinguished talent visa (DTV) program for 2017-18, despite Department of Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo advising businesses and universities to use DTVs if they face obstacles in the new 457 program. A backlog of applications has already begun building in 2016-17.
Alex Kaufman, Migration Manager at employment advisory firm FCB, said there will be many people who - because of their age or occupation - no longer qualify for the general skilled migration program but may qualify for the distinguished talent visa.
"With such a small quota, a significant proportion of these DTV applications would need to be carried over and processed in the next program year, and on that basis, it is easy to see applications eventually being pipelined for multiple years,” he said.
A Department of Immigration spokesperson could not confirm when the 2017-18 ceiling is expected to be met. In the Senate Estimates hearing in May, an official from the Department confirmed they did not do modelling on how changes to the 457 visas might affect the DTV program.