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Peter Dutton’s 457 visa crackdown puts restaurant industry “at risk”

The world’s largest job search company Indeed is warning that Australian restaurants will struggle to find the “next Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal” because of immigration minister Peter Dutton’s crackdown on temporary workers.

Indeed says there has been a 10 per cent drop on searches after the government announced its crackdown on foreign workers. And that, it said, happened almost instantaneously.

It said the abolition of the 457 scheme had undermined the 78 per cent increase in searches for Australian hospitality roles.

And significantly, most of the interest in Australian hospitality jobs was coming from Britain, not from non-English speaking countries.

Indeed is warning that the crackdown is putting the restaurant industry at risk and has forecast shortages of up to 120,000 by the end of the decade, with a shortfall of experienced restaurant and cafe managers, licensed club managers, cooks, bakers and pastry cooks to hire. 

"In some cases there were restrictions on chefs, cooks, bakers and managers and leading industry figures such as Neil Perry have raised concerns about barriers to hiring quality front-of-house staff that are critical to the success of quality restaurants," Indeed Australia-New Zealand managing director Chris McDonald told Fairfax Media.

"Visa restrictions that make it more difficult to address legitimate skills shortages would not only undermine an area so important to the Australian economy, but could see us miss out on the talents of the next Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal."  

Federico Sirito manages Da Orazio Pizza in Bondi said overseas workers were better for eateries.

Australian workers simply either didn't often apply to work at his restaurant. And if they did, he said they did not prove to be as reliable workers as overseas workers.

"They don't have the same work philosophy as we have, especially in hospitality, they call in sick twice a week. In my experience, I've never seen something like that before, so frequently," Mr Sirito told Fairfax Media.

by Leon Gettler, October 23rd 2017