Australia must accept unskilled workers

27 January 2006


Australia will have to accept tens of thousands of unskilled migrants to save its smaller Pacific island neighbours from economic ruin, a report commissioned by the Federal Government has found.

The report argues that the plight of the island nations has become so dire that urgent remedies are necessary to keep them viable.

The tiny states of Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu are cited as the economies most in need of a migration fix. But the report also points to Melanesian nations like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, with their larger populations.

While the Federal Government has substantially raised its immigration numbers over the past few years, its policy is to concentrate on people with skills.

Neighbor's plea

* Australia is being urged to take unskilled migrants from Melanesia and tiny Pacific island states.

* The economies of Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu are in urgent need of help.

* Papua New Guinea is upset that Australia allows 100,000 backpackers from Europe and North America work visas every year.