Recruiting overseas talent

In September Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged the Australian Government will make it a priority to encourage migrants to move to smaller capital centres – including Perth – and into regional and rural Australia.

For employers, the new year presents opportunities to leverage changes in legislation and ensure compliance around sponsored visas and recruitment of people from overseas.

The Australian Government has made significant changes to a range of visas including the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa (previously known as the 457 visas) and has introduced high thresholds for employer-sponsored permanent visas, such as the employer nomination scheme – subclass 186.

A Global Talent Scheme has also been introduced as a 12-month trial, allowing businesses operating within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry to identify and attract top talent with unique skills to build local capability and innovation.

The purpose behind these changes is largely driven by economic policy – to ensure skilled migrants meet the needs of Australian businesses without affecting or displacing Australian workers.

While accredited Migration Agents specialise in employer-sponsored visas, it is important to remain aware of changes and what this means for your business. This is where your HR team can add value.

International “People” Investments

Investing in migrant workers can be beneficial and/crucial in industries with very specific skillsets and unique roles – but if not executed correctly international recruitment can be a time consuming and expensive exercise. Here are three hot tips for ensuring a positive return on your investment:

1)     Think beyond today – Where will you be six months or one year from now?

As with any recruitment process, have a clear understanding of your expectations from the outset. Take time to understand the business needs now and the future direction. Your HR expert will assist your business to navigate through both the visa requirements and best-practice recruitment process by taking a holistic view of how international recruitment will give your company a competitive edge and fill skills gap/s.

2)     Research – Identify and understand your target market

Like any investment, it is important to undertake research beforehand to ensure you engage the best person for the position. Understanding the overseas target market is critical in order to enable an effective recruitment and selection process. What is attractive to someone based in North America may be quite different from someone in South-East Asia.  Adjust your recruitment ‘pitch’ to attract the right candidates.

3)     Technology – connecting with your candidates

Technology is integral in the recruitment of international employees and being innovative with the use of technology will assist in ensuring the person you are interviewing is in fact the best person for the job. Consider your existing recruitment and selection process and ensure you are taking advantage of available technology to review samples of work or conduct face to face interviews.

Time and costs involved

The Department of Immigration increased visa application fees to from 1 July 2018 and there are also other associated costs involved in recruitment including travel and training levies.

It is also important to remember international recruitment is a longer and more involved process. You may have identified the perfect person to fit the role and your current and future needs AND be willing to invest in sponsorship, BUT there are no guarantees.

Assuming your business is already an accredited employer sponsor, processing times for visas vary significantly, 35 days for TSSand up to 14 months for ENS from the time of submitting an application. Consult your HR team for they will be able to help you plan and set a predicted time frame from start to finish and identify key milestones along the way.

Contact WCA – People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with your Culture, Human Resources and/or Industrial Relations requirements on (08) 9383 3293 or

By Mindy Lee (first published in Business News, February 2019)


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