I’m an immigrant in a family of immigrants. I’m also an Australian citizen.
I’m writing to you about your decision to abolish the 457 visa: the visa that allows our business, and thousands like us, to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia.
Seven years ago, I started a company with my brother and my mother – also immigrants. Our company was funded by three investors – including a second generation immigrant.
Today, our company employs almost 50 people. We’re small, but we’re proud. We’re young, growing and close. 45 of our staff are Australian citizens – some also first or second generation immigrants. The rest are talented, dedicated and experienced men and women from all over the world. Their presence in our business adds unique skills, experience and exposure. They help our business to grow. They help our business employ more Australians – and more immigrants.
I won’t pretend to know your motivation for abolishing the 457 visa. What I do know is that no matter what is done to dress up the abolition or any replacement – your actions represent a closing of the door for thousands of skilled, able immigrants that could have made brilliant contributions to Australia’s growth. You’ve also created massive uncertainty for Australian businesses that want to work with them.
I’m disappointed, Malcolm.
As an immigrant – as an Australian citizen – I am sad when I look into the eyes of my staff on 457 or working holiday visas. How do I explain to them that Australia is a good place to settle, to work, to grow, to start a family, Malcolm? How do I ask them continue to commit to the growth of our young company. How do I ask them to help us do our small but proud part in sustaining Australia’s economic growth and providing more jobs for Australians and other immigrants?
We’re a tech company too. All about “innovation” and growth. Who will I learn from to make my Australian company more competitive with its foreign counterparts?
I want you to know I’m disappointed, Malcolm. As an Australian, as an entrepreneur, as an employer and as an immigrant. I’m disappointed in the change and I’m disappointed in how your actions and your attitude marry up the promise of your prime ministership.
Anton Babkov, CEO