Migration bills another burden on small business

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, says the legislation put forward around the skilled migration scheme is just another blow for small businesses.

Commenting on a Senate Committee report released late last week, Carnell said increasing the cost of temporary migration for work visas will add to the angst already involved in the complex and time-consuming process of securing a suitable worker.

“We know that small businesses contribute significantly to the training of their own workforce and are more than happy to do this,” Ms Carnell said. “However, in some businesses and some areas, particularly regional and rural, no amount of advertising or word of mouth is going to fill a vacancy.

“This is when employers look to what is probably the last resort for them, which is getting skilled workers from overseas. We are disappointed that this new legislation increases costs, timeframes and red tape.

“Under the proposed legislation, business owners will have to pay an upfront training levy of up to $8,000, spend around 80 hours filling out paperwork and then wait between seven to nine months for this to be processed,” Ms Carnell said.

“With cashflow and profit margins always a challenge, and no human resource or finance departments to support the process like big business, small businesses might just walk away as it is too hard. The impact of this legislation imposes a disproportionate burden on Australia’s small businesses and limits their capacity to employ people to run or grow their business.

“The national economic impact is a drastically reduced training levy due to a predictable reduction in in overseas visa applications.”