16/03/2011 - 09:26

More migration reform needed: Collier

16/03/2011 - 09:26

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Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier is pushing for changes to skilled migration that go further than the reform package announced yesterday by the federal government.

Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier is pushing for changes to skilled migration that go further than the reform package announced yesterday by the federal government.

Mr Collier said he discussed a range of workforce issues for Western Australia in high level meetings with Canberra, including expanding the type of occupations that qualify for 457 visas, and changes to enterprise migration agreements (EMA) and labour agreements.

"Criteria for projects qualifying for an EMA include the need for projects to be valued at $10billion or more, with a minimum peak construction workforce of 1,500," Mr Collier said.

"However, as this threshold precludes many projects in WA, the state government has recommended a reduction in the value of the project to $2billion, with a workforce requirement of 1,000.

"I also called for the Federal Government to recognise Perth under the Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme, which is designed to help employers fill full-time permanent vacancies that can't be filled locally.

"The advantage of Perth being classified as a regional area means that skilled workers can migrate on a regional visa while living and working in city areas."

The discussions also centred on reviewing the International English Language Test Score; implementing incentives to increase numbers of foreign students not only training in Australia, but staying to work; and reviewing the proposed points test requirements for the skilled migration program.

Research carried out by the Department of Training and Workforce Development shows that WA could face a shortage of up to 150,000 skilled workers by 2017.

"The state government's top priority is to ensure that these positions are filled from within WA," the Minister said.

"However, inevitably, it will be necessary to recruit workers from interstate and overseas."

Meanwhile, Mr Collier has also launched a campaign aimed at luring skilled migrants to Western Australia from the United Kingdom.

Mr Collier said he would lead a delegation of industry and government representatives to the UK later this year to promote WA to potential skilled migrants.

The delegation will include representatives from the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Australian Hotels Association and Motor Trades Association, and will meet with a range of key organisations over 10 days.

"We will meet with government officials, construction and manufacturing groups, and migration and recruitment agents, attend migration expos and generally raise awareness of the skills shortage facing WA," he said.

 

 

 


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