Australia experiencing serious skills shortage - More immigration needed

Australia is expected to face a serious shortage of professionals and tradespeople within the next 15 years; According to an analysis of retirement patterns in by the Australian Bureau of Statistics many Australians will be reaching retirement age over this period. This means Australia will need to recruit more and more overseas skilled workers to address the looming workforce shortage. In particular Australia needs health, engineering, and education professionals.

Additionally, Western Australia is currently experiencing its largest skills shortage of mining tradespeople since 2008. Western Australia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that more than 450,000 additional miners would be needed by the state in the next 10 years.

With fast-emerging economies like India needing its metals and minerals, mining shortages in Australia are expected to affect many other countries. India's urban population is projected to rise from the present 340 million to 590 million in the next 20 years which will result in a huge increase in demand for electricity.

Eligible applicants can apply for an employer-sponsored Subclass 457 work visa if they have a job lined up already.

Skilled overseas workers will be able to stay longer in Australia. Effective Monday, Australian immigration officials are expediting applications for 457 work visas as well as increasing the employer sponsorship period to six years from the present three. The work visa programme has been crucial in meeting skill gaps.

In addition to expediting applications, Australian Immigration officials have been conducting meetings across the country as part of their outreach programme to encourage more employers to use the 457 visa process.

"These changes to the work visa programme will particularly benefit large Indian corporations operating in Australia in the areas of IT, mining and ports. It will help them bring niche skill sets to Australia for their current and new projects. This will accelerate filling of skill gap that currently exists," Deepak Raj Gupta, president of the Australia India Business Council's Canberra Chapter, told Business Standard.

The number of corporate applications for 457 visas has seen a tremendous growth in recent years. Australia granted 113,725 skilled migration visas in 2010-11, up from 107,868 in 2009-10.

If you are a skilled professional or tradesperson and want to live and work in Australia, can help you apply for a visa. has been dealing with visa applications for over twenty years. We have an in-house immigration attorney and would be delighted to have an opportunity to help you with your visa application. Please feel free to contact us for further details.