Multinational companies might soon have a much easier time bringing their best and brightest staff to Australia.

  • Multinational Australia is considering a proposal to make intra-company transfers easier.

  • Immigration Minister Andrew Giles says it is ‘an important idea that deserves serious consideration.

  • It’s possible a new scheme could be advanced by next year.

The Albanese government is aiming to simplify the process for intracompany transfer and is considering a proposal to make multinational companies have an easier time transferring their best staff members to Australia. The matter of simplifying the process is also being advocated by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia claiming it to be a “low-hanging fruit’’ that could help deal with the historic labor shortage that Australia is currently experiencing.

Jarrod Ball the CEDA chief economist has stated that both the United States and the United Kingdom had already cleared many obstructions for multinational companies allowing them to bring in their exceptional workers to the country through a streamlined process. Moreover, the US even granted 116,000  intra-company (L1) visas in 2021 with the number being much higher than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (689,000 in 2019). Mr. Ball claimed that this method would also promote investments from multinational companies and even aid the county in acquiring practical overseas knowledge by bringing in experts through intra-company transfer.

The two Australian companies of biotechnology multinational CSL and medical device company Cochlear had already advocated for easier intra-company transfers years ago to share specific expertise and improve skillsets between countries.

According to Mr. Ball “multinational, large companies are Generally trusted users of the visa system, and they tend to facilitate a fair bit of foreign investment and also knowledge transfer across their workforces,”

He also said, “They also tend to plan and globally develop their talent, and so they think about moving their best executive talent across borders, to the areas where there’s the biggest projects, the biggest investment, and the biggest demand for specialized skills.”

Visa access provided to trusted employers

Currently, if multinational companies wish to send their staff to Australia through intra-company transfer they are required to use standard pathways provided to all immigrants like temporary skill shortage visas or skilled visas.

Currently, the number of temporary skilled visas issued every year lies between 20,000 and 60,000 with approximately 32,062 visas being issued in 2021/22 however according to Mr. Ball with the current standard of Australia’s visa system it would take around 6 months to complete the process of entering employees in Australia through this visa which according to him is too long of a wait.

At the same time, Mr. Ball also believes that a new four-year visa should be made available to trusted employers and accredited users of the visa system for intra-company transfers, one that also provides them with a pathway to permanent residency.

Mr. Ball also made the following statements:

  •  “I think you would have quite a high salary threshold, so probably well and truly over $100,000,”.

  • “You would also need to ensure that the person coming is a genuine employee. Other jurisdictions have rules like the person has to have been in employment in the company for more than 12 months,” he said.

  • “And then I think you need some integrity and safeguards around salary compliance, so just making sure that the salary threshold has been met.”

Mr. Ball stated that as long as these requirements are met multinational companies should be provided with accelerated processing of visas and remove the rules around the skilled occupation list or labor market testing.

The scheme could also benefit Australian workers

It was stated by Mr. Ball that the meeting he had with large multinationals showed him that there was quite a significant demand for intra-company transfers.

 He said, “A lot of companies, particularly in the higher-tech areas, I think would really benefit and appreciate it,” and “It’s certainly a proposal that I’ve heard come up or supported in several discussions with large companies.”

This scheme may also have a chance of benefiting the workers in Australia.

Mr. Ball claimed that establishing advanced manufacturing by CSL and Cochlear in Australia indicates that the two multinational companies rely on their experienced global talent to help build their workforce, meaning knowledge was also transferred to local workers in Australia.

He said, “Advanced manufacturing and technology are some of those areas where there’s just project management and other expertise that can only be gained offshore,” and “Being able to bring that onshore allows us not only to establish that business investment and the opportunities around it but also to transfer that knowledge to local workers.”


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