24 May 2011

Western Australia criticises flawed Australian migration policy

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The state government of Western Australia has called on the federal government to expand the regional skilled migration model that restricts applicants of certain Australian visas to live and work in regional parts of the country.

Australian immigration

WA calls on federal government to expand the regional skilled Australian migration model.

Under existing Australian immigration policy, while the majority of Western Australia is considered ‘regional’ and therefore a viable option for holders of these visas to migrate to, Perth and surrounding suburbs are not categorised in such a way and are subsequently ‘off-limits’ to holders of regional sponsorship (e.g. subclass 475 visa holders).

Energy, Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier in WA has described the federal government as “dropping the ball” on skilled migration, pointing out that the state is not just regional but is “remote”.

"We do not need the federal government to tell us what the problem is when our workforce needs are unique," he said. "We need a huge number of workers of all kinds – unskilled and skilled."

The Australian Financial Review reports that Western Australia currently have resources and infrastructure projects worth an estimated AU$225 billion under construction or planned in the state, and concerns are that labour shortages could have an economic impact if workers are not found to meet demand for skills.

A spokesman for Chris Bowen, the federal Immigration Minister, said that the policy could be revised in the future, allowing Perth to be recognised as a possible destination for regional skilled migrants.

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