Lost in translation.  Strict new visa requirements leave Hervey Bay's  popular Santini Pizza E Cucina in jeopardy.  Business partner Marion Cudemo has one more chance to pass the english test.  Mauro Santini, Paola Fortunato, Isabella Barberis and Mario Cudemo.
Lost in translation. Strict new visa requirements leave Hervey Bay's popular Santini Pizza E Cucina in jeopardy. Business partner Marion Cudemo has one more chance to pass the english test. Mauro Santini, Paola Fortunato, Isabella Barberis and Mario Cudemo. Valerie Horton

How law changes could force Bay chef back to Italy

ITALIAN pastry and pasta chef at Santini Pizza E Cucina, Mario Cudemo has 11 weeks to convince the Immigration Department he should be allowed to work in Australia.

Just over four years ago, Mario arrived in Australia on a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) but it has since been abolished.

The changes have made his future and the future of Santini's uncertain.

So what has changed since the subclass 457 visa was abolished?

First, let's look at the timeline of the controversial changes.

On April 18 2017, it was announced the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) would be replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa comprised of a short-term stream of up to two years, a medium-term stream of up to four years and a Labour Agreement stream.

Originally working under a 457 visa, Mario was now under a medium-term stream, which had more requirements when renewing his visa including a harder English language test and a maximum age of 45 on application.

At 52, Mario did not qualify.

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Last month, Mario sat the International English Language Testing System.

He was required to receive a minimum score of five in reading, writing, listening and speaking but due to stricter testing, he failed.

"It's too hard to pass now," Mario said. "I'm going to try and pass the test again in July."

A person is able to re-sit the test as many times as they like but at a cost of more than $300 per test, it's an expensive gimmick.

Upon renewal, Mario would have the opportunity to gain a permanent residence after three years.

With his visa due to expire on August 22, Mario will be in limbo until the government either approves a new visa or decides he must leave.

It's a painful waiting game not only for Mario and his wife Isabella but also his employers who have spent more than $1million on improving the business.

The four contacted Hinkler MP Keith Pitt to discuss the matter with the hope their case could be brought in front of Immigration Minister the Hon Peter Dutton.

The Chronicle contacted Mr Pitt who confirmed he had met with them but did not elaborate on whether he intended to help.

"Many people contact my office for assistance with Federal Government departments and any discussions I have with constituents is confidential," he said.

"My office was contacted two weeks ago and my staff sought advice from the Department of Home Affairs and that advice was passed on to the constituent."