The federal government will allow skilled workers from the United States to get a provisional licence to commence work in Australia immediately upon arrival, but the move has already upset local electricians. Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans said the new measure would link Australian employers with skilled workers in the US to fill skill shortages, especially in trades such as electricians and plumbers. "This is a great opportunity to address skill shortages in Australia by filling shortfalls in particular areas with qualified candidates from the US, with applications expected to open from mid-April," he said in a statement on Monday. Under existing arrangements such workers need to be assessed onshore (i.e. in Australia) which can mean waiting months between entry and starting work. Under the new skills assessment process, US workers will be assessed against Australian regulatory requirements before entering the country. Senator Evans told reporters the assessment process was available to other nations and it was only logical that it be extended to the US. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the government planned to run its overseas Skills Australia Needs expo in the US for the first time to attract skilled workers in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors.
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