New government agreement boosts visas for ad agencies

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 20 March 2019

A new agreement with the government will provide the advertising industry with additional visas to cover key skill shortages.

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) and The Communications Council revealed the five-year Advertising Industry Labour Agreement which will allow businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers for visas in specific advertising industry roles.

To qualify for the visas, businesses must show that the role cannot be filled with Australian workers.

“The Australian advertising industry strongly supports Australian jobs first,” MFA CEO Sophie Madden says.

“But if we’re to maintain our status as one of the top advertising countries around the world, we need to be able to access the best-experienced talent to cover skill shortages that we can’t either grow or have available here.”

The agreement is capped at 300 approved visas each year and employers must maintain at least a 75% Australian workforce.

It's a much needed announcement, according to Omnicom Media Group and MFA chair Peter Horgan, after changes to the 457 visa negatively impacted the industry.

"This is a whole of industry response, working with government to address a skills shortage that would have impeded our ability to deliver innovative tech and data solutions for clients,” Horgan says.

“The MFA and Comms Council have delivered game-changing value for their members."

A study by the two industry bodies conducted in March 2018 found that replacing the 457 visa with Temporary Shortages (TSS) increased vacancy roles, with the greatest skill shortages occurring in specialist roles with 3-7 years' and 8-15 years' experience.

“This is great news for the industry. The MFA and TCC have come together to find an industry-wide answer to a very complex problem,” The Communications Council CEO Tony Hale says.

“We are all very excited to have reached this agreement with the Department of Home Affairs and would like to thank them for working with us to develop a solution that allows the industry to continue to compete effectively and grow.”

The Communications Council and the MFA will jointly manage the pre-vetting process to ensure advertising firms seeking to sponsor highly skilled overseas workers meet all endorsement criteria.

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