Bowen explains how visa programme is helping target overseas workers

by Ray Clancy on August 30, 2011

in Jobs in Australia

Visa programme targeting overseas workers

Growth in the mining industry in Australia is expected to create 36,000 new jobs by 2015 and demand is leading to shortages of labor in other industries, it has been confirmed.

According to Chris Bowen, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Western Australia in particular will see significant opportunities and challenges associated with the boom.

He told the Australian Mines and Metals Association that of the $174 billion in planned investment on advanced projects in Australia, $109 billion is in Western Australia. This is more than double the next closest state, Queensland.

‘Of course, we all know the impact of this high level of investment on labor markets. Annual employment growth in the mining industry over the last seven years is at a very significant 10.4 per cent. This pace of growth, together with the pipeline of investment, is projected to lead to a shortage of 36,000 trades people by 2015,’ he explained.

‘While the resources sector is crucial for Western Australia, it is not the only industry in this state that requires overseas workers. Indeed, the great opportunities available for Australians in the resources sector are, in turn, leading to domestic labor shortages in other parts of Western Australia. Of course, temporary and permanent migration play a critical role in meeting demand for labor and addressing capacity constraints,’ he added.

Skills shortages caused by the boom in the resources sector are driving demand in the uncapped 457-visa programme. In 2010/11, Western Australian 457 applications increased by 64%. Western Australia now hosts 18% of primary 457 visa holders, some 9,000 in total, despite having just 10% of the Australian population.

Of these primary visa holders in Western Australia, 27% work in construction and 21% work in mining, the minister revealed.

Bowen said the programme is working well. ‘With an increasing share of 457 visa holders going to Western Australia and Queensland, demand-driven migration is delivering migrants effectively to the regions where they are needed, exactly how the 457 visa programme is supposed to work,’ he explained.

‘Anyone who tries to tell you the 457 visa programme is not working, needs to take another look at the facts. Yes, the number of applications for 457 visas fell between May 2008 and September 2009, but at the same time national job vacancies also fell at the same rate. This is no coincidence.

‘As job vacancies in Australia rise and there are not enough people locally to fill the positions, we see an increase in 457 visa applications as businesses look overseas to fill positions. Importantly, the opposite is also true: as job growth slows, the use of overseas workers also slows.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: