04 September 2007

Australia's construction skills shortage affecting the economy

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Australia's economic growth has been squeezed by the serious skills shortages in the construction sector, reports the Age newspaper. The second quarter saw building and engineering work slow by 1.9 per cent after seasonal adjustment. At the same time, work orders in the pipeline are still growing, leading to a new focus on supplying foreign workers with the Australian visa they need to help fill the skills gap.

Australia is desperate for skilled construction people to meet demand for residential housing and commercial construction projects. Britons with skills and experience in this sector may be eligible for extra points in the Australian visa assessment as many jobs are included in the Migration Occupations in Demand List (Australia MODL).

The shortage of workers is being blamed as building work in the pipeline at June 30th has reached a level of nearly AU$40 billion (£16.27 billion). Many public sector construction projects have been especially hard hit, falling in three of the past four quarters and 15 per cent in the past year.

Master Builders Australia chief economist Peter Jones told the Age capacity constraints, consequent price pressures, and worsening housing affordability are to blame. "A sustained upturn in residential building is needed to offset more moderate non-residential construction. House construction is now well below underlying demand," he said.

Australia needs experienced builders and skilled construction workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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