NBN boss fears being forced out


Explaining a few things you might not have known about the change

National Broadband Network boss Bill Morrow will have to reapply for a temporary visa to stay in Australia.

THE HEAD of Australia’s National Broadband Network has admitted he was “nervous” he could forced out of the country by the Government that appointed him under changes to temporary foreign visas.

The American-born NBN chief executive Bill Morrow is currently on the tail end of a five-year 457 visa which, if it is not reissued, would see him forced to leave Australia before the national network’s completion date in 2020.

Mr Morrow said he would need to reapply for the visa next year and, while his chance of an extension was good, he was apprehensive.

“The experts tell me I shouldn’t have anything to worry about but like anyone on a 457 I fell in love with Australia,” he told radio station 3AW today.

“Until (I reapply) I do have a little bit of nervousness.”

MORE: What you need to know about 457 visa changes

NBN chief executive Bill Morrow during Derby Day at Flemington Race Course. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian

NBN chief executive Bill Morrow during Derby Day at Flemington Race Course. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Morrow was initially granted a 457 visa to lead Vodafone Hutchison in March 2012, after coming to Australia from a role with US telecommunications firm Clearwire.

His 457 visa was reissued for five years after he was appointed the lead the NBN in December 2013, but the strict new rules mean he will need to reapply to stay in Australia and he will not be granted an option to apply for permanent residency.

Many prominent leaders in Australia’s tech industry have spoken out against the Federal Government’s changes to 457 visas, including Atlassian co-chief executive Mike Cannon-Brookes who said about one quarter of the company’s Australian staff were in the country on the temporary visas.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the system would be replaced by a two-year visa with no path to permanent residency, and a four-year visa for immigrants with specialised skills.

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