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dnata launches recruitment push to ease student visa shortfall

written by Jake Nelson | July 17, 2023

Inflight catering company dnata is looking to fill 450 vacancies across Australia in a major recruitment drive.

The firm, which employs almost 4,000 employees across 16 catering facilities in Australia, is seeking to fill frontline roles at major and regional airports, as well as support roles in areas including finance, procurement and culinary.

Hiranjan Aloysius, chief executive officer at dnata Catering & Retail Australia, said demand for catering services is continuing to climb, with the company’s catering and retail division already supplying 250,000 flights annually across Australian airports, translating to 64 million meals per year.

“dnata plays a key role in keeping the industry moving across Australia and we rely on the dedication and hard work of our local workforce,” he said.


“We are proud of our employees and continue to offer highly competitive compensation packages, comprehensive training, and excellent career development opportunities. We operate across 10 cities in Australia and 11 countries globally.”

The recruitment drive comes not long after the federal government’s reintroduction of caps on allowable working hours for international students, a move dnata opposed.

From 1 July, work restrictions for subclass-500 student visa holders – which were suspended in January 2022 to address workforce shortages – were reintroduced, with the cap increasing from 40 to 48 hours per fortnight. dnata had called on the Government to delay these changes for 18 months, saying they will produce a labour gap equivalent of 150 people.

In May, Aloysius said this would impact the packing of 36,550 meals per week, or 150 weekly flights.

“dnata Catering & Retail currently employs over 350 student visa holders, which equates to 16 per cent of our workforce, all of whom make a significant contribution to our company and the aviation and retail industries. Over 76 per cent of those currently work more than 48 hours a fortnight to cover their living expenses and tuition fees,” he said.

“The government’s plans to reduce student visa holders’ allowable working hours to an average of 24 hours a week will place an undue financial burden on our hard-working, and highly trained employees who make up our business. We fully support our employees and understand the significant stress and pressure this visa change brings.”

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