Australia: Economy slow but demand for foreign skills continues

03 August 2009

In a recent press release, Australia's immigration minister said that while the number of foreign workers has decreased due to the slow economy, there is still a demand for overseas labor in certain sectors.

In the mining and health care industries -- both traditional hot-spots for skilled immigrants -- demand for workers from abroad continues to rise. Many Australian employers utilize the government's temporary skilled migration program to bring in badly needed skilled labor.

Evans said the temporary visa continues to aid Australian employers in this regard, supplementing other more permanent residency programs such as the General Skilled Migration program.

"Where there are demonstrated skills shortages, the temporary skilled migration (457 visa) program provides the capacity for employers to access skilled overseas workers to supplement the local workforce,"Evans said.

He also noted that application processing time for temporary work visas has decreased in the wake of administrative changes recommended by industry experts.

"The Rudd Government recognizes the need for industry to access skilled overseas labor where there are demonstrated skills shortages,"Evans said.

However, he also noted the the program was not designed to replace the local workforce.