2WEB Bourke’s breakfast announcer David Sharp is now an Aussie citizen, but when he first came to Australia he came as a 457 Visa entrant.
The radio announcer category for 457 Visas has now been removed as part of the immigration changes announced this week (see previous report).
David had a desire to leave the hustle and bustle of America and work in Australia, so answered a job ad here on radioinfo back in the year 2000.
He got the job and moved to Kingaroy Queensland, then later to Bourke NSW.
He has now been working in announcing and sales at 2WEB for 15 years.
David got his start in radio at a college station when he was twelve and was immediately hooked.
As an adult, David moved up the ranks of small and medium-size stations before working for Clear Channel in his home town of Tampa, Florida.
He’s done everything from producing sports shows, anchoring an hour-long news program every afternoon, to playing just about every type of music as a DJ. After deciding he didn’t like the rat race, the traffic jams and the crime of the US, David came to Australia in February 2000.
His first Aussie job was in Kingaroy at 1071 AM/Power FM until those stations were sold, then he joined 2WEB as Breakfast announcer in November 2001.
“I was on sequential 457 Visas until about four years ago, when I became permanent,” Sharp told radioinfo.
“Now I’m a citizen.”
Sharp says the 457 Visa process was “mostly straightforward” at both 4SB/Power FM in Kingaroy, and then at 2WEB.
“It usually took about four weeks to get approval, but sometimes longer. Things changed when PM Julia Gillard took a hard-line on 457’s, and it was at that point a migration expert suggested applying for Permanent Residency, as opposed to another 457.”
The Visa scheme seemed to work for both David and the employers, who found it difficult to recruit suitable announcers who wanted to move to the country and work at their stations. It is still difficult to get people to move to the bush to work at these stations, but David’s experience shows that a regional lifestyle can be very attractive to the right sort of person.
“Obviously, under the 457, I had to apply for work at regional and remote stations, and they had to prove difficulty in recruiting. In other words, it was a dual path: immigration had to approve the workplace eligible and if that happened, I would be approved (so long as my paperwork was in order). Additionally, immigration had minimum salary requirements for 457 Visas and the employer had to meet these minimum standards.”
David is grateful he was able to get in on the 457 scheme all those years ago. He understands the need for change to help Aussies get jobs, but he is also surprised at the move.
“The 457 scheme certainly helped me. And considering current and previous employer had to demonstrate a need, and, satisfy immigration requirements, I’m a little surprised the government is making the change. It’s not as though I took a job from an Aussie, both stations couldn’t find qualified talent.”
Now that the change has taken place, it will be up to aspiring Aussie radio announcers to think more seriously about working in the bush to fill the vacancies that are available there.
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