Western Australia lures skilled migrants

The Western Australian government is trying its best to attract overseas skilled workers in an attempt to deal with labour shortages in its mining sector.

Western Australian Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier announced a WA workforce development plan to address these issues. One of the problems is finding skilled labour for the expected $220 billion worth of natural resource-related projects.

According to Collier, the increasing population and aging workforce will cause a gap of about 150,000 workers in Western Australia in the next seven years. Bringing in skilled migrants into Australia will help Western Australia deal with skills shortages in the labour market.

"Training and preparing West Australians for the workforce is our number one priority," said Collier. "However, targeted migration will be an important strategy in filling those high value vacancies unable to be filled by the local workforce."

The government of WA has signed an agreement with the Australian federal government which will allow the state to sponsor 6000 visa applications under the regional sponsored category of the General Skilled Migration program.

The General Skilled Migration program is Australia's points based immigration system which allows skilled workers to gain permanent residence in Australia with or without a job offer from an Australian employer.

Some visa categories under this program allow state or regional governments in Australia to sponsor a visa applicant.

The General Skilled Migration Program has been very successful for Australia and has influenced immigration systems in other countries such as the UK.