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Information and communication technology are currently experiencing a growing skills gap (IT), a report has revealed, with more workers coming from overseas to help fill available positions. Migration consultants may deal with a growing number of workers from this industry, as workplaces do what they can to attract the necessary talent. One company to have recently been granted an On-Hire Labour Agreement is Entity Solutions, which operates within the contractor management services industry.

So far, it is one of the very few professional engagement services companies to have gained government approval to act as an official sponsor for overseas talent. Through the scheme, Entity Solutions is able to nominate several placements within the telecommunications, finance, ICT, management and engineering sectors.

Chief executive officer Matthew Franceschini said that the agreement enables the company to meet the demands of its customers, while also providing support to Australian businesses. He acknowledged that this is especially important at a time when Australia faces the challenges of meeting demand in boom sectors such as resources, as well as telecommunications projects.

“The benefits undoubtedly suit both Australian businesses by providing access to expertise only available overseas and to skilled workers who are increasingly prepared to seek out the best opportunities in the global employment marketm” Mr Franceschini continued.

However, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) indicates that many professionals within the ICT industry are critical of the 457 visa system, which they believe makes it too easy to take on foreign staff. It cites the comments of a senior IT network executive, who told IT Pro that lower-paid workers are taking up positions that could be filled here in Australia.

“There’s an underlying theme here, in that the number of IT jobs in westernised countries are probably not reducing by as much as being reported, but merely being usurped by backdoor means through offshoring,” they explained.

The number of 457 visa applications for the ICT sector is set to rise in the future, especially if fewer Australian students take related courses at university – as is currently the case. According to the SMH, the number of students taking these qualifications has halved over the past decade, although registrations have improved slightly over the past two years.

Grant Frankcombe, manager of migration services at Entity Solutions, said that On-Hire Labour Agreements enable companies to gain the necessary workers without the process of securing their long-term work visas.

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