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22 January 2008
According to ABC news in Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is considering making changes to the nation's migration program to help offset skills shortages affecting the economy.
On 22 January 2007, Woodside, the largest independent oil and gas company in Australia, told Rudd that they would need foreign workers as part of their major expansion of the company's North West gas processing plant.
Rudd said that he would look at changes to visas for foreign workers to meet the shortfall of skilled workers. He said that his government wanted to make sure that Australia had proper skills planning as part of strong foundation for the future of the Australian economy.
"To be blunt, this hasn't been done well in recent years and we need to fix that up," Rudd said. "That's why...we've undertaken to establish 'Skills Australia' to take a long-range roadmap of what the skills needs of Australia will be long-term."
"And how do you respond to that? Greater investment in skills and training, and, of course, calibrating the migration program as appropriate to the skills needs of this economy and the next economy," he added.
Australia's General Skilled Migration program has been very successful for the country. It's points-based approach skilled immigration has influenced similar migration programs of other countries, such as the United Kingdom.