In 2010, Migration Solutions was engaged by a corporate client in the form of a South Australian company named Caledonia Scaffolding Services. At the time, the company was competing for several large infrastructure contracts that were beyond the capabilities of a workforce of their size. For this reason, Migration Solutions advised Caledonia to consider use of the 457 program in order to recruit extra staff from overseas that would be experienced and skilled enough to handle jobs of such size and complexity.
As a result of scaffolding not being included on the Consolidated Skills Occupation List (CSOL), agents opted to proceed by negotiating a Labour Agreement* with the Department of Immigration on behalf of Caledonia. The bid was successful, allowing the company to bring in a maximum of 50 scaffolders in the first year of the Agreement. The Agreement enabled Caledonia to secure a number of large projects that they would have otherwise failed to compete for, including the Gorgon Natural Gas project in Western Australia, and led to a significant increase in size and annual turnover of their business.
However, in August 2012 when Migration Solutions applied for the second-year ceiling of the agreement, the agents were met with formidable resistance. Despite weekly correspondence, the government failed to finalise the application, instead requesting additional and updated information at every turn. Meanwhile, the delays were hurting the newly expanded Caledonia, who were forced to make do by employing their UK scaffolders on a series of 12-month Working Holiday visas while they waited on the pending result.
How we were able to help
Despite the incredible frustration the process was causing, the staff at Migration Solutions refused to let the issue drop, and proceeded to follow up the status of the matter with the Department for months. When the deadline for the second-year ceiling came and went without a decision having been made for an entire year, Migration Solutions encouraged Caledonia to persist with their application by applying for the third-year ceiling instead of abandoning the agreement.
Fortunately, the lodgement of the third-year ceiling application coincided with a change in Federal Government, to one that was openly much more in favour of the skilled migration programme. As a result of the change in government and the persistence of Migration Solutions’ staff, the application was granted within eight weeks, allowing Caledonia to bring in up to another 25 Scaffolders from the UK and continue to expand their operations.
What our client says
‘Migration Solutions were extremely helpful in achieving a result that enabled our business to continue to grow, even though the external circumstances clearly weren’t in our favour for quite a long period of time,’ said Managing Director of Caledonia Scaffolding Services, David Stephen.
‘The use of the skilled migration program has enabled us to significantly expand our business, and by bringing in these experienced workers we have been able to develop our young, local workers much more quickly and effectively than we would have been able to do otherwise.
‘For example, we have set up the only scaffolding traineeship in Australia for local young people that we know of, a direct result of having a large number of skilled 457 workers. The skilled migration program has really helped us develop our business in the short-term, but also allowed us to look ahead to the next generation.’
‘We are very thankful to Migration Solutions for all their help. Without such an experienced team really pushing for that Agreement, it is unlikely our business would be where it is today.’
*A Labour Agreement is an arrangement between an employer and the government that allows a certain number of skilled workers not listed on the CSOL to be granted 457 visas subject to sufficient evidence being provided of a skills shortage existing.