InfoTrust CEO Dane Meah has called on the Australian government to take advantage of US president Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy and help local organisations poach cyber security experts from banned countries.
Under Trump’s executive order, citizens from mostly Muslim countries Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia are temporarily banned from entering the US. Meah wants cyber security experts who are in limbo due the order to come to Australia to fill our growing technology skills gap.
“We don’t have the depth of skills in country to address the growing need,” Meah told CIO Australia. “There are people in Trump’s banned countries who have those skills and our immigration screening systems have proven highly robust,” he said.
“With such a drastic shortage of cyber security skills in Australia and with Trump about to issue a revised executive order banning entry, we need to be poaching the best and brightest today.”
Since 2015, the federal government has toughened up on the 457 visa program, which lets local companies hire foreign workers. It acted on recommendations set out in a review of the program in 2014 to ensure organisations are complying and genuinely face a skills shortage.
Last November, the government also clamped down on 457 visa provisions by reducing the amount of time skilled workers can remain in Australia after leaving their jobs from 90 days to 60 days.
But despite this tightening of rules, there’s a real need to ship in overseas security workers as more and more traditional criminals move into cybercrime, said Meah.
“The volume and complexity of attacks is increasing, we absolutely need to be invested in the organic approach … and build a stronger education base within Australia so that we have our own cyber security experts. But the here and now is that we don’t have the depth of skills in country to address the growing need,” he said.
Two of InfoTrust’s security engineers are from Pakistan and Bangladesh, countries which while not on Trump’s banned list, have experience recent extremist violence.
“Pakistan is so unstable, our national cricket team will not play there,” Meah said. “Yet one of our highly skilled founding employees, Pakistani-born engineer Muhammad Ulhaq, was recently made an Australian citizen,” said Meah.
“Obviously, the Department of Immigration is quite capable of screening people to ensure they are not a security risk. Skilled immigration is good for Australia,” he said.
"With open labour markets and globalised cybercrime, Australia really has an opportunity to take advantage of the Donald’s short sightedness.”
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