Australian Immigration Study: 80 percent of firms planning to hire overseas workers

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Four out of five companies in Western Australia (WA) plan to hire foreign workers to help fill skills gaps, according to new research by global consultancy services firm KPMG.

The KPMG report found that there were increasing skills shortages in every Australian state except Queensland, and 61 percent of surveyed employers were affected by the shortfall in skilled labour.

The number of temporary 457 visa holders in WA rose by 85 percent in July compared with the same period in the previous year.

The increase in skilled migration has drawn some criticism.

"We are concerned about a culture developing in which employers turn to 457 visa workers rather than training," UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk told The West Australian.

However, many see great benefits from skilled migration. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) feels that migration adds value to the resources sector.

"These skilled workers pass on their techniques and experience through knowledge transfer to Australian industry, thus sharing critical experience and good practices from overseas and adding value to the economy," APPEA said in a report submitted to the Australian government's employment taskforce.