Western Australia sending delegation to UK and Ireland to hire skilled workers
By Finfacts Team
Jul 7, 2011 - 1:30 AM

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The State government of Western Australia, a key mining region, is sending a delegation to the UK and Ireland to hire skilled workers.

Peter Collier, the state's training and workforce development minister, on Wednesday announced the overseas trip as part of a plan to get workers for WA, which is facing a 150,000-worker shortfall by 2017.

The Minister launched a new website, the Skilled Migration Portal, which is a comprehensive guide about attracting overseas workers to supplement employers’ local labour force.

It includes information about occupations in demand and visa classes which employers can access, as well as tips about assisting migrant workers settle into a new life in Western Australia. It also provides information about living and working in WA for potential migrants.

Located at the portal is the latest in a series of endeavours the State government has launched as part of a strategic and broad approach to help address future skills demands.

Collier said the portal had been developed as a single web-based point of entry for accurate and current information on skilled migration.

“It includes access to information on living and working in WA, migration pathways and visas, opportunities for State Sponsorship, the WA Skilled Migration Occupation List and links to other useful sites, such as the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Tourism WA, and the Small Business Development Corporation,” he said.

“It is targeted at people who are thinking about emigrating from their country of residence, and employers who are considering using skilled migration as a workforce development strategy to meet their skill needs.

“Its development followed extensive research which involved several workshops held with various stakeholder groups, including recently arrived migrants.”

The launch comes just days before the Minister leads a delegation of industry and government representatives to the UK and Ireland to champion WA’s position as a leading destination for skilled migrants.

“WA is facing a potential shortfall of up to 150,000 additional skilled workers by 2017, demand that is driven by strong growth in the State’s resources industry,Collier said.

“This will in turn place pressure on many of the State’s other sectors, presenting significant challenges for government, industry and the community as the demand for skilled labour increases.

“While the Government’s top priority is to ensure that jobs are filled from within WA, this alone will not be enough and targeted migration will be essential to boost our skilled labour needs.

“Our goal is to explore all options for not just increasing the participation of our local population, but also adding to the labour pool by attracting skilled workers from overseas and other parts of Australia.”

The delegation includes representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Australian Hotels Association, Motor Trades Association, and Civil Contractors Federation, as well as other industry and government groups. They will meet with a range of key organisations over 10 days.

“We will be making presentations at a range of migration-related events in Leeds, Aberdeen, Dublin and London to promote WA’s attributes to potential skilled migrants,” Collier said.

“I will also be meeting with representatives from the UK and Irish governments, as well as key industry and training organisations to better understand their training and workforce development systems.”

Complementing these initiatives, Collier said the State government has made major inroads towards addressing future skills demands.

This includes releasing the Skilled Migration Strategy, launching Skilling WA and hosting a series of skilled migration forums in Perth and regional areas. In addition, the Minister is seeking support from the Federal Government to make changes to the migration system to better meet the needs of WA employers.

Adam Walker, director of Conduit Recruitment, a construction jobs agency in Sydney, told The Wall Street Journal that his office receives 20 to 30 applications a week from the U.K. and Ireland.

“They obviously think it’s better over here and pretty bad over there. There’s not much happening with construction in those markets and there’s a boom going on over here,”
he said.

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