Australia might have to relax its immigration rules if it wants to avoid skills shortages. This is the opinion of Australian Business who said that migrants bring the skills and experience needed to grow the Australian economy.
Businesses in Western Australia said that without enough skilled migrants the country will face another major skills shortage, forcing the country into a recession. They have urged the Australian government to re-look at the Skilled Occupations List (MLTSSL) and to expand it to include more occupations – especially in certain specialty fields and to allow more migrants with occupations, listed on the MLTSSL, into areas such as Western Australia where their skills are desperately needed.
Speaking to the Australian Business, they have said that some sectors; including mining, energy, hospitality and tourism, cannot grow without foreigners as the skills needed was not available locally. They called for work visa immigration rules to be relaxed amid complaints that the skills shortage was being exacerbated by tight and unrealistic visa immigration rules.
According to immigration experts, quoted by the Australian, the demand from Western Australian companies for overseas labour was now stronger than at any time in the past four years, and it is predicted that, unless immigration laws are re-considered, the region will be in the grips of a skills shortage very soon.
Skills that were needed included drillers, petroleum operators, marine surveyors and technicians, but these had all been removed at the federal level from eligibility for skilled migration.
Australian Industry Group WA manager Kristian Stratton said to the Australian that his members were starting to report difficulties finding skilled people in specific trades.
“We are also seeing more members inquiring about the use of labour agreements as they haven’t been able to source suitable candidates for key roles,” he said.
According to the latest data from SEEK, the mining, resource and energy sector has consistently recorded the largest growth in job ads for the past 11 months. The sector, which recorded 32% more job ads in July 2018 than in the previous year, now have 44% more job ads than a year ago.
WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Deidre Willmott called on the McGowan government to re-consider its decision to cut the number of occupations on the state’s skilled migration list from 178 to just 18.
“It is crucial that WA is adequately prepared for when our economy recovers, particularly in key sectors such as agribusiness, construction, defense, manufacturing, international education, energy, resources and tourism,” she said pointing to the fact that more migrants would be needed.
Australian Hotels Association West Australian chief executive Bradley Woods said he believed acute shortages in the hospitality sector would emerge in the next 12 months, especially given the looming addition of thousands of hotel beds and the opening of new restaurants and bars.
Source: The Australian and The New Daily