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Australian Retailers Association proposed further changes to the 457 visa reform ensuring the longevity of Australian retail

Melbourne, Australia, 2017-Jun-06 — /EPR Retail News/ — As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has proposed further changes to the 457 visa reform in a submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) ensuring the longevity of Australian retail.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said the ARA have long been advocating for its members on skills shortages in the local labour market and the costly flow-on effect of doing business in a competitive global market.

“Australian retailers are currently challenged by the availability of local talent to fill buying, planning and online roles in the industry,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We have been consulting the Government and advocating for formal training and professional development options for retail employees, to support future careers in Australian retail.”

The ARA strongly believe the ability for Australian retailers to compete in a dynamic global market, and continue to employ Australian workers directly correlates with access to specialised talent.

“The recent changes to the 457 visa program have restricted Australian retailers in accessing specific roles required in modern day retailing, further crippling the growth and development of local retail talent,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Working with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) the ARA surveyed its members on how the 457 visa changes will have a major impact on future business growth, securing retail talent, promoting local employees and international competitiveness.

The survey identified Retail Buyers, Merchandise Planners, Merchandise Designers and Digital Commerce as four critical roles required in contemporary retailing and assisted the ARA in formulating an accurate response to the Department on the proposed 457 visa changes to ensure current and future applicants for these particular roles are not affected.

The ARA’s submission highlights the adverse effects to the sector caused by the removal of certain retail occupations and asks the Department to reinstate the Retail Buyer to the Short Term Skilled Occupation List.

The submission further seeks a more sophisticated and inclusive approach in identifying strategic retail occupations prior to any reforms being implemented and recommends a pathway for highly skilled visa holders in key retail categories to be offered permanent residency.

Taking a longer-term view, the ARA supports the development and implementation of HECS-HELP for tertiary qualifications to support careers in Australian retail.

Mr Zimmerman said the ARA look forward to working with the Department to develop local retail talent through relevant tertiary studies which will in turn guide the future of Australian retail.

“As skilled retail employees are an enormous asset to the industry, the ARA will work with the Government to future proof Australian retail talent.”

To view the ARA’s full submission to the DIBP please click here.


For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmermancall the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

SOURCE: Australian Retailers Association

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