Home' Australian Hotelier : AH MAY 2017 Contents 4 | MAY 2017 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
HOTELIERS WARY OF
457 VISA REPLACEMENT
Hoteliers remain wary of the Federal
Government’s plans to replace the 457 visa
program with the Temporary Skills Shortage visa,
even though not much will change for cooks and
chefs on the replacement.
During a press conference with Prime Minister
Turnbull, the Minister for Immigration and
Border Protection, Peter Dutton, announced that
the 457 visa will be replaced with two alternate
visas, that do not foster as much agency for
“What we propose is that under the Temporary
Skills Shortage Visa short-term stream there will
be a two-year visa, with the options of two-years,
but there would not be permanent residency
outcomes at the end of that.
“In relation to the medium-term stream,
which as the Prime Minister pointed out, is
targeted at higher skills, a much shorter skills
list, that will be for a period of four years, can
be applied for onshore or offshore, and it’s a
significant tightening of the way in which that
While cooks and chefs have not been scrapped
from the medium-term stream, many hoteliers
already found the 457 visa process difficult, and
with less chance of permanent residency to follow,
may find it even harder to attract the needed
“The hospitality industry is growing at
unprecedented rates at the present and the
demand for skilled labour is at all-time highs with
this complete transformation of Australia’s hotel
industry,” said AHA CEO, Stephen Ferguson.
Indeed, the Government’s own Australian
Tourism Labour Force Report estimated that
the tourism and hospitality sector will require an
additional 123,000 workers by 2020, including
60,000 skilled positions.
Most hoteliers are withholding judgment
as they grapple with the implications for their
businesses, but a few were wary of the additional
strain the scrapping of the 457 visa would place
on finding kitchen staff.
“I am still waiting to hear the finer detail
about the announcement from Turnbull so as to
fully understand the implications of this for the
hospitality sector. But on face value, it does not
seem to be founded in a sound consideration
of the facts attributable to the current skills
shortages being experienced in the hospitality
sector,” opined Christian Denny, licensee of Hotel
Harry and The Dolphin.
Andy Mullins of Sand Hill Road, sang the
praises of the 457 visa, and has expressed his
surprise at its replacement.
“The devil’s in the detail at this stage, but
my first response is 457s haven’t been about
overseas workers taking Australian jobs, it’s just
not the case. We’ve got 457s in the kitchens
where we have such a massive shortage of supply
and labour, and 457s have been the perfect
panacea to that. For us it’s perfect because we’ve
got incredibly hardworking, passionate, loyal staff.
It obviously hasn’t been designed in our interest
because the 457 is working.”
CLARIFIES IPO PAUSE
The large Melbourne-based hospitality
group has paused their plans for an IPO
offering to consider a private equity offer.
After a year of speculation regarding the
plans to list the company on the Australian
Stock Exchange (ASX), Dixon Hospitality
began a serious effort to court investors for
the IPO launch several weeks ago, engaging
Evans & Partners and Morgans to attract
the necessary $100 million investment. The
IPO roadshow also took place in April,
meeting potential financiers in Australia,
New Zealand and in south-east Asia.
However the plans to pursue an IPO
were put on hold, and several media outlets
were speculating as to why, with Fairfax
suggesting that two private equity offers had
been made, and News Corp suggesting that
Dixon Hospitality was pursuing a private
equity buy-out after a lack of interest during
the IPO roadshow.
With rumours abounding, a Dixon
Hospitality spokesperson has clarified the
situation for Australian Hotelier.
“It’s been shelved at the moment,
simply because it was a very strong result
on the management roadshow, however
an approach has been made by private
equity; and so the board has felt that it’s
most appropriate to pursue that enquiry,
that offer, just to make sure that we’re
maximising shareholder value.”
While the firm was not disclosed, the
spokesperson suggested that it was “a
very firm approach” and that Dixon
Hospitality will now take the next few
weeks to go over the details of the offer.
The Dixon Hospitality portfolio currently
consists of 48 venues across the eastern
seaboard, with the majority to be found in
Melbourne. The company has increased its
presence in Sydney in the last 12 months,
and as part of their purchase of several
Keystone venues at the end of 2016, has also
owns a steak restaurant in Brisbane.
The Duke, Melbourne
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