30 Oct 2017

Restaurant industry ‘at risk’ after 457 visa changes

Despite high numbers of overseas workers keen to work in Australia’s hospitality industry, some restaurants are being forced to face local skill shortages for chefs and cooks since the 457 visa changes.

The 457 visa changes have reduced the ability for some Australian restaurants to employ chefs or restaurant managers from overseas. Under the changes, restaurants which are classified a ‘limited service restaurant’ are unable to employ restaurant managers and chefs due to caveats limiting their eligibility for the 457 visa program.

Restaurants considered by the Immigration Department to be a ‘limited service restaurant’ can include:

– fast food or takeaway food services
– drinking establishments that offer limited food services
– some cafes and coffee shops
– some pizza restaurants

Global job search website, Indeed warned that local employers in Australia’s hospitality industry are set to face a shortage of 120,000 cooks to hire. Shortly after the Government announced the 457 visa changes, Indeed detected a 10 per cent decrease in searches from overseas workers, showing the impact that the visa changes are having on Australia as a destination for overseas hospitality work.

Indeed Australia-New Zealand Managing Director, Chris McDonald stated, “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.”

“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,” he said.

It is clear that overseas café and restaurant managers and cooks have helped to make Australia the culinary destination that it is, which is why industry groups are concerned that Australia’s restaurant industry could soon be jeopardised by the 457 visa changes. In addition to the restrictions placed on ‘limited service restaurants’, the 457 visa changes have also meant café and restaurant managers have limited pathways to permanent residency.

It will be interesting to see whether industry concerns will be heard when the Government re-assess the list of eligible occupations on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List in January 2018 and occupations on the Medium to Short Term Skilled Occupation List in July 2018. We will keep you updated on any further developments as they arise.

Immigracious specialise in managing work visas for the hospitality industry. To find out if your business meets the requirements to sponsor visa holders, contact our migration agents on 08 6263 4406 or


WA Today

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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