KRISTIAN DOWLING: GETTY IMAGES
The changes, announced in April, will abolish the pathway to permanent residency for key roles including restaurant managers, bakers and cooks.
The hospitality industry relies on foreign workers to fill certain roles, from a French pastry chef to a specialist in sake.
But business owners have told Lateline the changes mean a level of uncertainty that will jeopardise their plans for expansion — and ultimately impinge on the quality and diversity of the Australian dining scene.
Celebrity chef Neil Perry has about 3,000 staff across dozens of restaurants, including Rockpool, Jade Temple and Rosetta in Sydney, about a third of whom are on some kind of temporary work or student visa.
"[Workers on 457 visas] are super important for the restaurant industry because there are skills we need to bring in, both back- and front-of-house, in cooking, service [and] sommeliers," he said.
He said he had always sought to employ Australian staff in those positions, but it was not always possible to find the right skillset.
"It means we have to reflect on [any possible] expansion — can we or can't we. [With the] labour market saying [it] can't supply any more, we have to rethink what we're planning to do."
Hospitality already facing skills shortagePrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in announcing the abolition of the 457 visa category, said the change was designed to ensure Australian jobs were filled by Australian workers where possible, and that foreign workers were not being brought in "simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than bother hiring an Australian".
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