Australian businesses call for more skilled immigration

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Reconstruction efforts in flood-stricken Queensland are expected to make it more difficult to recruit skilled labor for the Australian building industry, causing industry stakeholders to call for more skilled immigration.

Business groups have called on the Federal government to ensure immigration rules do not adversely affect their ability to hire overseas workers. Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the government should consider changes to its immigration programs, as the reconstruction effort was likely to exacerbate skills shortages.

The floods in Queensland are expected to cost billions of dollars and pull in workers from other Australian states. Low unemployment make it more likely that skills gaps will form across Australia and affect peripheral industries -- even tourism.

It could be even more difficult in future to recruit tradespeople starting next July when new rules go into place which will make it more difficult for people with skilled trade experience to obtain a visa under the General Skilled Migration program.