457 visas: the impact on cafe workers

(Photo: Kang Shang)

Background

Australia is the country that considered as the most successful immigrant nation through the past 20 years. One of the straightest ways to get permanent resident (PR) is through 457 visas, which is the business visa for employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers. It is given by the Australian Government for four years to work temporarily in Australia.

(Source: National Visas)

However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and The Federal Government announced a big change of 457 visas on 18th April 2017, which the current 457 visas will be abolished and will be replaced by two new types of visas. After this announcement released, not only Australia local media corporation like ABC News and Daily Mail reported this announcement but also foreign media organisation such as BBC News reported as well. Also, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull himself posted a video clip on his Facebook page to explain the changes of 457 visas.

(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Bobby’s Café

 Since I am one of the overseas students who has a part-time job in a small café – Bobby’s Café. Bobby’s Café is located at Ivy Street Darlington, which is close to Redfern station and Abercrombie Building, Business School of Sydney University.

Interviews

 In Bobby’s Café, most of my colleagues are from overseas. I chose three of them and had a small conversation about the changes of 457 visas. Simply, I brought five questions during our quick interview, which are 1) self introduce 2) what type of visa you currently have 3) do you know the change of visa 457 that government announced and what results do you think this change might cause 4) is there any effect to yourself 5) what is your future plan for the next 3 months.

Baskara, 27 years old from Bali, Indonesia.

(Interviewing cafe worker, Bas)

Bas has been working in Bobby’s Café around 7 months. He currently has student visa. When I asked him about the changes of 457 visas, he said he has paid attention to this news all the time and what surprised me is Bas has a positive attitude to the changes. During our conversation, Bas said this changes might be good for the students who studied related to the subject in the university. In other word, this change might be fairer to those people who get their PR through skilled independent visa (subclass 189) rather than some people spend money to get the PR such as fast food industries.

Moreover, the impending 457 visas has small influence to Bas, he said he has no plan to stay in Australia at the beginning and he will go back to his hometown – Bali maybe one or two years. As for the future plan for the next 3 months, Bas will take a month holiday back to Indonesia and extend his another student visas in order to stay here longer. Bas now has two part-time jobs, one is in Bobby’s Café and another is in a bar. Besides the working time, he needs to go to the college two days a week. He said to me that it is very hard to earn the money and has a lot of pressure to live in Sydney. Probably that is why he never has the plan to get a PR in Australia and he joked that he will send his children to Sydney in the future. He will let his children to know how hard their father used to earned the money.

Yo Yanase, 23 years old from Japan.

(Interviewing cafe worker, Yo)

The Japanese girl Yo, who has been Australia nearly one year and working for the Bobby’s Café around 8 months. She first came here with her working holiday visa and just changed it to student visa for the same reason as Bas – to stay here longer. When I asked her about the announcement of government, she said she did not know very clear about the change because she was holding the working holiday visas, which is quite easy to applied in Japan and her purpose is get the overseas experience and earn money. Similar as Bas, the changes of 457 visa does not really affect Yo and she does not care about the changes of 457 visas. For the next three months Yo will stay here, maybe for one more year she will apply for another working holiday visa and go to New Zealand.

Paolina Decheva, 29 years old from Bulgaria.

(Interviewing cafe worker, Paolina)

The last person I interviewed is a Bulgarian girl who has been working in Bobby’s Café for two and half years. The most difference from Bas and Yo, Paolina has a strong negative attitude about the impending 457 visas. Paolina now has the student visa and it will expire in July. At the beginning of this year Paolina wanted to apply the 457 visas through Bobby’s Café, she knew it had a big chance that the government will refuse to give her the PR but still has possibility. However, after the new policy about 457 visas announced, it is impossible to get PR through Bobby’s Café because the scale and the total revenue do not reach the requirements of applying the new 457 visas.

During the interview of Paolina, I can feel the helpless and sadness of her tone. The results of impending 457 visas made her no choice but go back to her own country Bulgaria. She said to me that there are some other ways to stay here such as marriage or learn a related subject and go through skilled independent visa, but either way are not really what she wants. Paolina has already booked the flight ticket return to Bulgaria and she is using the last few days to say goodbye to her friends and hoping the government will have a new policy for people who have the same situation as her.

“The new policy makes me no choice but go back to my own country”.

As the same person that have student visa, we are still considering about whether stay here or not. If stay here, in what way after the new changes of 457 visas?

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