by Paul Smith
The tech billionaire said Australian-based technology companies needed to bring in specialist top level managers to grow their operations and train up local staff, but that the government's plan to remove a clear path to permanent residency meant most would no longer consider coming.
Earlier this year the government called for submissions to a review of the country's visa schemes, which it said would make the system more responsive to economic, social and security interests.
It caused controversy in the business community by abolishing skilled 457 visas, and removing a clear pathway to permanent residents for immigrant workers, who would now need to prove their eligibility to stay in Australia after spending time on provisional visas.
After taking submissions on its proposals in a review, which closed in mid-September, The Australian Financial Review understands the government is poised to unveil its report early next week.
Mr Farquhar, who currently shares the title of AFR Business Person of Year with his Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, has previously spoken about the need for Australia to increase its immigration of top senior technology executives in order to meet a shortfall in the country and help local companies go global.
However he told The Financial Review that the government's proposed changes would be disastrous for the local tech scene, and said even the fact that the changes had been proposed had already caused harm.
"The Australian government has gone a long way towards damaging our reputation as a place that people want to come and work globally," Mr Farquhar said.
"Even before these new ideas have become law, the sentiment that the government has sent globally is that they are almost shouting out that Australia is closed for business."
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