Temporary Work (Skilled) visa subclass 457 scrapped

This week, the Prime Minister announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa program will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses ‘in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.’

There is a steady exchange of researchers and related occupations between Australia and overseas countries. While 457 visas are not the only visa class used to being researchers to Australia, it has been an important part of the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge. Some of the occupations that have been removed from the 457 visa class are:

  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Life Scientist (General)
  • Life Scientist (Not elsewhere classified)
  • Nurse researcher
  • Research and Development Manager

Are you affected in recruiting scientific workers from overseas? Or will this impact existing collaborations with overseas researchers? Alternatively, do you think this will encourage new on-shore opportunities for Australian early and mid-career scientists?

Research Australia is keen to hear from you about what effect this could have on you and your organisation. Please contact Head of Policy, Greg Mullins via email greg.mullins@researchaustralia.org or phone (03) 9662 9420.

More information is available here.

Research & Development Tax Incentive

Joint statement on the Research & Development Tax Incentive

Don’t rip the guts out of Australian medical research commercialisation

Commercialisation of Australian medical research is under serious threat if the package of measures put by the ‘Ferris, Finkel, Fraser’ Review of the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive is adopted and Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector is urging the Federal Government not to devastate Australia’s most innovative industry.

The R&D Tax Incentive is the most critical centre-piece program in the translation of Australia’s world-class research into treatments, cures, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. The program has been successful in helping attract more investment in R&D and fostering a strong Australian life sciences clinical trials and R&D sector.

The changes proposed, especially the $2 million cap and the ‘intensity threshold’, will have significant, disproportionate and negative impact on the MTP sector. Only around 5.5% of research expenditure registered for the R&D Tax Incentive relates to MTP1, however comments from the Report’s authors that the impact of the $2 million cap will be “slight” or that other policy measures, like the Biomedical Translation Fund, will balance out damage, fail to understand the impact likely in the sector, its broader ecosystem, or the nature of clinical trials. Relative to other sectors, the commercialisation of MTP has longer time frames, due to significant scientific and regulatory hurdles to reach patients and there is higher expenditure on R&D, particularly in later stage clinical trials.

We understand the need for the Government to ensure that the tax incentive is sustainable during challenging budgetary conditions; however, the scheme must be viewed as a tool to encourage long-term investment in Australia that creates highly-attractive jobs, attracts clinical research and grows the local economy.

Ensuring that any redesign of the tax incentive does not act as a handbrake on this investment is imperative, so that Australia can continue to thrive as a home for some of the world’s most talented scientists and medical researchers, improve its position as a centre for high-quality R&D in medical science and receive the related spill-over benefits.

Joint statement_RD Tax Incentive_FINAL_18 April 2017