Western Australia needs skilled migrants for next mining boom

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The Western Australia (WA) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) says that the Australian government must increase skilled immigration so that WA can cope with labour demand in the next mining boom.

According to a report by a leading Australian economic consulting firm, Western Australia will lead the nation in output growth for 2010 and beyond. It is also expected that the Western Australian economy will continue to grow in the next financial year.

"With the WA economy expected to return to very strong growth, labour shortages will once again be a problem for local businesses here in WA," said CCI's Dana Mason.

"CCI's predicting we'll need an additional 500,000 workers here in the state over the next ten years but we're likely to fall well short of this number," she added.

Without these additional overseas workers, Mason says the cost of doing business will increase and inflation will rise.

Australia depends heavily on skilled migration to deal with skills shortages. Australia has a points-based immigration system called the General Skilled Migration program which has proved very popular and has influenced the immigration programs of other countries such as the United Kingdom points based system.

Employers can also apply under various employment-based immigration schemes which allow them to sponsor temporary foreign workers.