Overseas accountants still an option despite visa messiness
The hiring of overseas workers remains a viable long-term option for accounting firms despite the skilled migration visa changes that took effect last year, says a global recruiter.
Last year, the government abolished the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, more popularly known as the 457 visa, and established a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa in March 2018 with two separate streams – short term and medium term.
Speaking to Public Accountant, Morgan McKinley director Dominic Bareham said accountants are still on the medium-term stream, meaning they can have direct access to a four-year visa and access to permanent residency after three years.
“With the visa changes last year, a number of professions that were removed from or taken to the short-term list, which is a two-year visa and then another two-year visa with no route to permanent residency,” Mr Bareham said.
“But accountants are on the longer-term list. We did get a recent update that there was a view to potentially move management accountants to the short-term list, but that hasn’t been confirmed. It’s something that’s just been flagged as a potential possibility by the government.”
Some of the key things to consider when hiring overseas, according to Mr Bareham, is a potential worker’s ability to complete all their interviews, either via telephone or video-conferencing.
In addition, he said firms need to consider the timeframe in actually gaining sponsorship, which varies depending on the season and timing with the government.
“As you start to get into more senior roles, it’s quite commonplace for people to be on three-months’ notice in Europe and Asia, which is very uncommon in Australia. Most people are still on a one-month’s notice even when they’re in senior roles unless they are C-suite,” Mr Bareham said.
Regarding the contract recruitment market, Mr Bareham said it’s difficult for firms to source the right talent in the local market that’s ready and available to work on three or six-month contract roles.
“Those people are normally in permanent roles, meaning there’s an opportunity for the chartered firms to hire overseas accountants on a contract basis for their move internationally,” he said.
“Then they get the opportunity to see how that individual performs before potentially offering them to stay longer, whether that be a longer-term contract or sponsorship. I think the chartered firms have recognised this and do provide it as an option now.”