Australian business entices Indian skilled labour to immigrate

24 March 2006

Skilled migration to Australia is set to continue as ministers and heads of business travel to India to recruit skilled labour to fill Australia's growing labour market shortage.

Twenty Australian businessmen are currently accompanying the Australian Prime Minister John Howard on a three day trade mission to India. The main objective of the visit is to entice skilled labour specialists to immigrate to Australia through its Skill Stream Migration Program.

Demand for these skilled workers has exploded and wages have skyrocketed due to the shortfall of local skilled workers. Mining is one industry affected by this shortfall of skilled specialists. The industry sees India as part of its solution to fill job vacancies for skilled engineers.

One member of the PM's delegation is Bob Kirby, the president of the world's largest mining company BHP Billiton Group, said the experience Indian skilled miners have can help the shortage of project engineers and engineers in general.

Mining is expanding at an incredible rate in Australia, with high commodity prices in the sector driven by Chinese demand. Local labour can no longer fill the demand for skilled mining labour.

Mines in Western Australia have had to delay expansion due to these labour shortages, and trends of mining expansion are set to continue.

Aggressive searches for skilled labour are a problem never experienced by mining companies. The industry was for years a closed book. Those days of zero opportunities for employment in mining now seem long gone, said Kirby.

Amanda Vandstone, the Minister of Immigration was in India earlier this month, where she helped Australian business launch an Australian Expo, aimed specifically to attract skilled workers from India to immigrate to Australia.

The expo gave exhibitors the opportunity to interview potential employees in one place at the one time, said Vandstone.

Other delegates from Australian business, representing sectors such as banking and logistics, are very interested in recruiting the ever growing count of IT specialists India has produced.

The Australian government announced the addition of 20,000 places for the Skill Stream Migration Program. The Labour Agreement Migration Visa has now 97,500 places to be offered to skilled specialists where there is a shortage of skilled workers in Australia.