Business group urges Australia to allow more skilled immigration

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The Business Council of Australia has urged the Australian government to increase temporary skilled immigration.

The resources sector of Australia, which includes industries such as mining, are concerned about expected skills shortages as a number of multi-billion dollar projects get underway.

The BCA has urged the government to make changes to the 457 visa program and introduce a special faster labour agreement to approve visas for large projects.

The BCA said many employers are concerned about lengthy delays and paperwork involved in hiring temporary overseas workers.

A recent briefing with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen warned that at least 140,000 skilled migrants were caught up in a processing backlog of up to 28 months.

The immigration department recently announced speedier visa decisions for companies involved in reconstruction efforts related to the recent floods. The BCA wants that agreement expanded to other projects.