Finance Minister: Australia needs skilled immigration

29 November 2010

Finance Minister: Australia needs skilled immigration

According to Penny Wong, Australia's Finance Minister, Australia needs an increase in skilled immigration to meet demand for skilled labor.

"We need to increase the labor force," Wong said. "We're facing a whole range of capacity constraints we need to deal with now."

As Australia's economy grows, the nation of 22 million must increase its population to meet demands for labor in high-growth industries such as mining and finance.

Australia is faced with different issues to most developed nations after the 2008 global financial crisis. House prices in Australia continue to increase. There is also a need for new homes in major urban centers due to increased demand from incoming migrants. This, in turn, creates a need for more skilled immigration to provide more workers for the housing sector.

Australia's unemployment rate is expected to fall to 4.75 percent by the second quarter of next year, one of the lowest unemployment rates for a developed Western nation. Skills gaps are expected to increase as a result; The only way to deal with this problem is to allow more skilled immigration into Australia.

Recently, the Australian Government announced changes to its skilled immigration points based system which will come into effect in summer of 2011. The government will in effect make it more difficult to immigrate as a tradesperson. This could have an adverse affect on the ability of Australian businesses to meet their labor needs.

Business leaders across Australia have been urging the Australian government to take another look at their plans for skilled immigration.

"The challenge in the last term was to avert recession, the challenge in this term is to manage growth," said Wong.