Australia: Mining sector welcomes plans to increase skilled migration

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The Australian mining industry has had some good news recently; Recent reports suggest that the government may increase levels of skilled migration to Australia. As the Australian economy picks up the only way in which employers will be able to deal with expected labour shortages is by hiring overseas workers

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia -- where current and future natural resource based projects are likely to take place -- said that it was vital to hire foreign workers under skilled migration visas. There is insufficient local labour to meet their needs.

"The ability to source workers with specific skills sets will be a determining factor in projects being delivered on time and on budget, maximising the opportunities presented by current commodity demand," said Reg Howard-Smith, CEO of CME.

"A steady supply of skilled workers will also help to prevent a wider labour drain from other sectors," he added.

Howard-Smith cited a recent survey undertaken by CME which found that mining sector employers required an additional 38,000 over the next five years.

He pointed out that the mining sector was experiencing skills shortages in specific areas, not a general lack of workers. While lower skilled labour will likely see some demand, professionals such as engineers and supervisory personnel will likely be more in demand.