On-Hire Labour Agreement brings migrant workers to IT sector

Date: Jul 10, 2012

As Australia's IT industry struggles to meet demand for skills, it is becoming increasingly common for companies to recruit workers from overseas.

One company that has found itself in this situation is Entity Solutions, a contractor manager that has entered into an On-Hire Labour Agreement to fill available positions.

The agreement has been authorised by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, making it one of just a handful to have received government approval as an official sponsor.

As migration lawyers will advise, the initiative allows the company to nominate a number of placements in the fields of management, finance, ICT, engineering and telecommunications.

Matthew Franceschini, chief executive officer of Entity Solutions, said that the agreement gives the company an opportunity to evolve its service, as well as bring value to other Australian businesses.

He continued: "At a time when Australia is facing the challenges of meeting demand in the booming resources sector and major ICT and telecommunications projects, the ability to engage and on-hire skilled workers plays a crucial role in meeting the ongoing skill demands of the economy."

The updated Skilled Occupation List, which came into force on July 1, still includes a number of positions within the IT sector.

Among them are ICT business analyst, systems analyst, computer network and systems engineer, software engineer, analyst programmer and software engineer.

A report published in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year identified that fewer people are going on to study information technology-based courses when they have the option to do so.

In fact, it suggested that the number of students taking Information Processes and Technology at HSC level has declined to seven per cent, down from 17.9 per cent back in 2003.

University figures have also declined by almost 50 per cent over the past decade, leaving as many as 20,000 jobs in ICT throughout Australia without enough people to fill them.

On-Hire Labour Agreements, such as that undertaken by Entity Solutions, require candidates to meet specific criteria in relation to skills, contract terms and salary, helping to ensure recruits are woven into the fabric of their organisation.

In some cases, businesses could turn to these agreements if they do not have the need or desire to become a sponsor under the 457 visa program.

At a time when ICT roles are unfilled, it is likely that companies will be using whatever methods possible to find candidates to take on the roles.