Australia's New South Wales looking for skilled workers

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Australia's New South Wales (NSW) Premier Morris Iemma today announced a major expansion of the Government's efforts to attract skilled business migrants to NSW. "With almost half of the nation's finance industry and a large proportion of our economy in the services sector, Sydney is inextricably linked to the global economy. "That means we're in a global battle for investment and talent.

The Premier said that in recent years efforts had been focused on encouraging skilled business migration to regional and rural locations. The Regional Migration Program has grown by 600 percent in the past three years.

In 2003 there were 48 applicants generating 150 jobs. Last year that increased to 238 sponsored applicants generating 850 jobs and $367 million in exports. "This year we are on track to attract 350 sponsored applicants who will generate $89 million in investment, 1120 jobs and $560 million in exports," Mr Iemma said.

At the heart of the drive for talent is the Government's plan to join the Independent Skilled Migration Program. This initiative will see skilled migrants sponsored to move to Sydney for the first time. The Government has set a target of doubling skilled migrants coming to New South Wales from 350 a year to at least 700.

The Premier said the NSW Government would place a strong focus on attracting high value, highly skilled applicants in the fields of:

• finance;

• information technology;

• biotechnology;

• pharmaceuticals;

• film and television.

The program will see the Government form partnerships with recruiters, employers and universities both in Australia and overseas to secure the best graduates and professionals – domestic and international – for businesses in Sydney.

The Department of State and Regional Development will also boost its participation in trade missions and expos and start running recruitment roadshows focussed on the skills Sydney needs to grow and prosper. The first steps will be recruitment presentations at the world's largest biotechnology expos Bio 2006 in Chicago and the world's most prestigious IT expo, CeBit 2006 in Hanover, Germany.