Technology Industry Crisis – 457 temporary work visa

Australia missing an enormous opportunity to improve technology industry.

 

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is in the final stages of preparing the government’s response to a review of visas, which is expected to involve major changes to the Migration Act. In April 2017, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and Peter Dutton jointly announced that Australian 457 temporary work visa will be abolished and replaced with TSS (Temporary Skills Shortage) visa which will starve companies of vital and scarce skills according to Danile Petre, co-founder of Airtree Ventures and Bill Bartee who runs the $200 million CSIRO Innovation fund, Main Sequence Ventures.

 

Mr Petre said Australia needed to take advantage of the political climate in the US under President Donald Trump, to attract the tech industry’s brightest talent to Australia. But the current trend with immigration is wasting the chance.

 

“At a time when Trump is telling brown-skinned data scientists to go f— themselves, we should be able to bring them to Australia, but we have this moron in Peter Dutton saying we don’t want to have more of these people in the country,” Mr Petre said.

“It is a bizarre thing where we know the multiplier of a good developer or data scientist in terms of creating other jobs, but we are missing a massive opportunity.”

 

Mr Bartee said Australia was particularly short in large tech product management roles and would continue struggle to commercialize good ideas from within universities and business if there was no significant change in approach. He also warned that numbers at Australian universities in tech-related courses is a big worry for the future for the economy.

He also warned that Australia has a declining population of developers and engineers at a time when we need them more than ever as the number of computer science graduates coming out of universities actually declining and half of them are international students who are leaving the country.

 

Mr Petre has developed a reputation for speaking his mind in local business circles and recently warned that Australian retail is facing “Armageddon,” caused partly by terrible online shopping experiences. He also said that leading industry figures willfully kept Australia behand the global curve by insisting that global tech-led change would not apply to Australia.

 

“That should be understood at a board and management level, but that whole thread is missing in most of corporate Australia,” Mr Petre said.

“All our industries are locked down pretty much … all run by three or four companies, run by old white men, who wouldn’t know innovation if it bit them on the a— … In retail there has been this weird belief that Amazon or Amazon-like service offerings just wont work in Australia, which is just ridiculous.”

 

Tech entrepreneur Matt Barrie has also previously mentioned that declining number of young Australians in tech industry is “an absolute crisis” in Apr 2016. The number of IT students had fallen by somewhere between 40 per cent and 60 per cent in the last decade, with the number of women enrolling in technology degrees also dropping dramatically.

 

So, where are we heading Australia? Where do we stand in our future without all the smart tech-savvy brains? I guess Peter Dutton has to address that question as well.