Food technologists removed from 457 visa list

By Janette Woodhouse
Wednesday, 19 April, 2017

The federal government’s changes to the 457 visa list include the absolute removal of food technologists from the list of eligible skilled occupations. This change is timely as, while a shortage of 3- to 5-year experienced food technologists has always been claimed, there are never jobs for fresh food technology graduates and we lose them from the industry.

Basically we must have been letting people accrue a HECS debt as they completed a food technology degree but not provided a route to jobs in the industry for them. They were never going to qualify for the jobs requiring 3–5 years’ experience because they couldn’t get a job in the first place.

If these graduates really are unemployable it is surely up to industry, professional associations and the universities to liaise and modify the degrees so that the students are employable when they complete their courses. To import food technologists via the 457 visa scheme because we couldn’t adequately educate students completing food technology courses in Australia is pretty ridiculous.

  • What does the food industry want in fresh food technology graduates?
  • What are the shortfalls in current fresh graduates?
  • What is stopping industry implementing an effective intern program? (And not a lip-service, few weeks of free labour intern program but one where students and industry both benefit.)
  • What are 457 visa migrant food technologists able to do that locally trained cannot?

Let’s answer these questions and choose to all work together to create a pool of food technologists who are desirable employees because they will add value to the food and beverage industry in Australia.

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