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My fellow South Africans, learn to flip burgers

South Africans desperate to emigrate to Australia will be excited to learn that McDonalds and KFC are so desperate for staff that they are willing to issue 457 skilled immigrant visas to burger flippers.

Granted, you will have to move to a mining town in the middle of nowhere. But it is a foot in the door, right? Low unemployment rates and the resources boom has meant that it is proving difficult to find workers willing work for lower salaries than they could find in the mining industry.

The number 457 is one with which South Africans looking to leave are only too familiar. Visa subclass 457 is the employer sponsored work visa that offers a gateway to many immigrants looking for eventual permanent residence. Because an immigrant on a 457 is effectively beholden to the employer who sponsored the visa, the scheme has led to concerns about worker exploitation.

If your occupation is on the Migration Occupations in Demand List you stand a better chance of getting into Australia. Encouragingly, Australia is keen on cooks, boilermakers and bricklayers as well as architects, accountants and engineers. Lift mechanics, tree surgeons and drainers are also prized.

Which means that even if you didn’t train as an accountant — which in South Africa means that you get to own fat piles of cash telling your employers what to do with theirs — somebody, somewhere, wants to hire you.


  • During the day Sarah Britten is a communication strategist; by night she writes books and blog entries. And sometimes paints. With lipstick. It helps to have insomnia.