Skilled chefs from overseas can be sponsored by Australian businesses to help fill critical worker shortages.

Changes to international student visa conditions allowing more than 40 hours of work per fortnight will go a long way to alleviating workforce shortages in hospitality businesses, Tourism Accommodation Australia has said.

In response to measures outlined in last night’s 2021 Federal Budget, TAA National CEO Michael Johnson welcomed the measures, congratulating the Prime Minister and Treasurer for listening to the sector’s concerns.

“This is a temporary, targeted, common-sense measure we have been pushing for,” Johnson said.

The changes are expected to see more work offered to student visa holders and help businesses cater to customer volumes.

“Permitting student visa holders to work more hours – and letting temporary visa holders work in the tourism sector – under the COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa will go some way towards addressing the lack of staff, particularly chefs, faced by the hospitality and accommodation sector across Australia.”

“What we need now is for the States and Territories to support the road to recovery by ensuring Australians have confidence to travel within our own country without fear of sudden border closures and lockdowns,” Johnson added.

Further measures announced in the Budget geared towards hospitality businesses included allowing the write-off of any new depreciable asset purchased of any value. Temporary loss carry-back was also extended for 12 months, with further extensions to the government’s JobTrainer program, with wage subsidies under the JobMaker program extended, encouraging businesses to hire new people.

Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson.

Australian Hotels Association CEO, Stephen Ferguson, said he welcomed the AUD$10 million spent on regulatory technology solutions for modern award obligations.

“Anything which makes it easier for employees and employers alike to navigate the 126-page Hospitality Award is a welcome move,” he said. “This measure will make it easier and cheaper to navigate complex awards, make it easier to hire and reduce unintended payment errors.”