Australia is currently suffering from a technology skills shortage and while local talent is unavailable, untrained or inexperienced it is up to migrants to help develop the Australian Tech industry to its full potential.
In recent weeks the Australian Labor party has proposed a series of changes to tighten Australia's skilled immigration policy on 457 visas via a private bill, but its arrival unfortunately comes at a time when the country is desperately seeking highly skilled talent to fill positions across multiple industries, especially in technology.
‘While I agree with the sentiment in promoting the use of local talent, as well as establishing safeguards against the exploitation of cheap foreign labour, a government crack-down on foreign visas will only hurt the economy rather than fix it,” commented Barry Winata left Australia to work as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.
“The truth of the matter is that right now, Australia cannot produce the talent it demands alone — it needs help from other countries to fill the gap.
“Let's face it — Australia's tech scene has never really taken off. In years past, it's been faced with many challenges; lack of funding, a brain drain of Aussies moving offshore (having done myself), dwindling participation in STEM based learning, and very little incentives in encouraging start-ups to set up shop here,” added Winata.
Winata believes that continuing the momentum of growth in the industry would include opening the country and industry role players’ doors, rather than closing them seems to be more appropriate.
“As much as we would like to think we know it all, there's a wealth of benefit in bringing in outside talent. Attracting highly experienced workers from abroad can help educate the local workforce on new skills and knowledge, causing a ripple effect across the industry,” said Winata in an interview with Australia’s Financial Review adding that as an engineer working in Silicon Valley, he has seen first-hand the huge reward a diverse and multicultural workforce can bring to the area and the value it can generate for the economy.
Winata continued to motivate his support of importing talent, in not just the technology but all fields of commerce.
“There's a reason California is the biggest economy in the Union. Stacked against nations, it is the world's sixth largest, surpassing France.
“Its diversity in both its people and industries is the reason it is such a melting pot for investment and innovation.”