Western Australia states case for more skilled workers

14 May 2007


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The state government of Western Australia says that the increase of 5,000 skilled migration placements is inadequate to fill their needs. Western Australia alone needs another 60,000 in the next ten years.

The state's construction and mining sectors are in a desperate need for workers. According to Small Business Minister, Margaret Quirk, the increase of 5,000 placements which raised Australia's nationwide limit to 102,000 "will not meet Western Australia's industry needs over the next 12 months."

Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews was quick to rebut.

"In the case of 457 visas and temporary migration, they provide up to half a decade of service for an employee and if an employer wishes to keep them on, that can be done," Mr. Andrews said.

"In setting each year's migration levels, there's a range of economic factors that are taken into account."

"If Ms. Quirk is really concerned about the economy in Western Australia, she should be speaking to [Australian Labour Party leader Kevin] Rudd about the impact of his industrial relations policies." Andrews' comment possibly alludes to the Australian Labour Party's stance against legislation Andrews introduced during his tenure as Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

Quirk countered by saying that she was aware of the no-cap temporary visa program but said the country needs to plan for the future by stocking up on permanent residents. Currently, Western Australia has a booming construction industry. The need for skilled workers is immense and is expected to grow in the future.

"Western Australia has a very real need for more skilled workers," said Quirk. "Five thousand places is a bit short sighted. We need to open up some avenues to get more skilled migrants in here."


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