More information about the new regional immigration programme changes are to be provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in a series of migration forums in major regional centres across Western Australia.

One aim is to provide local employers with information on the changes to the skilled migration programmes available to address their labour needs and help them to find workers from overseas.

DIAC is delivering the forums next month in cooperation with the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development so that people can be better informed about a range of new initiatives to help meet demand for skilled migrants in regional Australia.

'The skill stream has increased by 12,000 places on 2010/11 programme planning levels, to 125,850 places and policy initiatives are being implemented to assist Australian employers, businesses and regional areas to better address their skill needs,' a DIAC spokesman said.

At the forums, employers can get an overview of skilled migration options or pathways available to those seeking to address skill shortages in regional and remote areas of the state across a range of industries.

The WA regional outreach officer will be available to answer questions regarding immigration issues and provide specific information on employer sponsored migration options for temporary and permanent visas to address current and future skills shortages in the regions.

Employers may also request a private consultation to discuss issues such as sponsorship of overseas workers through the 457-visa programme and permanent skilled migration options such as the regional sponsored migration scheme (RSMS) and employer nomination scheme (ENS).

Other issues include employing overseas workers and checking work rights of employees and current and future options for sourcing semi skilled overseas workers through labour agreements and regional migration agreements.

The forums starting this week are taking place in Northam, Bunbury, Exmouth, Carnarvon and Geraldton.