Overseas engineer qualifications to be scrutinised

by Ray Clancy on July 21, 2015

in Jobs in Australia

Engineers from around the world looking to work in Australia could find getting a job a little tougher and have their qualifications scrutinised more thoroughly due to the launch of an industry national registration scheme.

Engineers Australia, which represents 100,000 engineers and is the national body for the profession said it has launched the scheme in direct response to the number of engineers arriving from overseas.

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Engineers from overseas may face a tougher time getting jobs in Australia

It says it needs to safeguard the industry from an influx of overseas workers arriving on temporary 457 visas and to make sure those getting jobs have the best possible qualifications.

The National Engineering Register (NER) aims to check the qualifications of engineers, experience and monitor their commitment to professional development.

Engineers Australia chief executive Stephen Durkin said the need for the scheme stemmed from the number of overseas engineers coming to Australia to fill job gaps despite the fact that there is a shortage of engineers.

He admitted that Australian universities produce about 9,500 engineering graduates each year, but annual demand for engineers has ranged from 13,000 to 20,000 in the past decade.

Durkin said he supported skilled migration, saying most of Australia’s engineers were overseas born, but the profession needed to monitor the number of people coming in on temporary 457 visas.

‘Up until a couple of years ago the number of 457 visas went from 2,000 to about 7,000. We can’t register the term engineering because it’s a generic term. But we can create a register that the public can access to see if an engineer is a qualified, practising and ethical engineer,’ he explained.

He added that the register will also be linked with professional standards councils in different states and territories which are independent statutory bodies, recognised by law.

‘We believe that our NER will further improve the professional recognition and public trust of engineers in Australia and promote the role of EA in advancing the profession,’ said Durkin.

The organisation has been urging state and federal governments for the past 25 years to adopt such a scheme but without success so it has now taken matters into its own hands.

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