Peoplebank Seeks 200 Foreign IT Pros

Peoplebank seeks 200 foreign IT pros

Jennifer Foreshew
Australian IT
April 28, 2009

THE country's largest technology recruiter, Peoplebank Australia, is planning to import 150 to 200 overseas technology workers a year.

Peoplebank plans to source 12 or more IT workers overseas in the next month after signing an on-hire labour agreement with the federal government.

Chief operating officer Peter Acheson said the agreement would streamline the company's process for sourcing international contractors for projects that met the criteria of the Temporary Business 457 visa program.

Mr Acheson said the company was one of a few local IT recruiters with such an agreement following changes to the immigration regulations in October 2007, which has limited the number of on-hire employers sponsoring 457 visas.

“Over the last 12 months it has been a challenge to bring people in on 457 visas and this will now allow us to do that,” he said.

“There has been a bit of latent demand created as a result of the fact that we haven't been able to bring people in over the past year,” Mr Acheson said.

“Some of the people we will put in place over the next few months will be soaking up that demand.

“I think probably somewhere between 150 and 200 a year would be the sort of number we will get to.”

According to Peoplebank, the agreement enables it to source, secure and hire overseas contractors to enterprise and government clients for projects in areas with identified skills shortages.

It would retain responsibility for the immigration processes required for the contractors, while in return the federal government would speed visa applications for the contractors.

Mr Acheson said the agreement meant the company could search the widest global pool of technology candidates for specific projects, knowing its expedited visa process could result in a candidate working in Australia within a few weeks.

The supply of candidates following the financial downturn meant overseas workers would be brought in to fill specific “skill-tight” roles, he said.

“At the moment, there is clearly a shortage, for example, of .NET programmers, Java people, J2EE programmers — we would expect to bring people in for those areas, and then the emerging technologies.”

Mr Acheson said the agreement would help the company attract quality candidates because they would not be hired by an employer for one project, but by the recruiter.

Peoplebank would also actively seek ongoing projects for overseas workers while making them available to businesses for short or fixed terms.

Peoplebank could give local businesses the additional security of moving nominated contractors currently on working holiday visas (417) holders to a longer term visa (457), he said.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokeswoman said there were 38 on-hire agreements and about a quarter of those included IT professionals.

“As of April 21, 2009, there are fewer than 300 primary visa applicants in ICT professions currently in Australia,” she said.