06 August 2008

Australian immigration targeting South Africa's "Achilles heel"

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Like many countries around the world, South Africa is experiencing a "brain drain" of skilled workers who are migrating to better working conditions around the world. According to the Financial Mail, Australia and Canada are attracting more South African skilled workers than ever, creating a skills shortage in South Africa’s economy that has been coined its "Achilles heel".

The news provider has been told medical specialists and higher-end management comprise the biggest groups of skilled South African emigrants.  Since 2000, the number of South African emigrants has risen from 18 per cent to 40 per cent, leaving a massive gap in the South African workforce.

The Australian Government is also desperate to fill skills shortages and have opened its doors to skilled workers willing to move to Australia.  Figures released from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria showed that last year, approximately 4,000 South Africans moved to Australia, and 15,000 more visited the country on an Australian tourist visa.

Marketing Manager for Pentravel David Randall said this year flights from South Africa to Australia increased by 30 per cent.  He added that the increasing demand for South African immigration to Australia has resulted in Pentravel securing a special immigration fare with Qantas, Australia’s national airline. 

"It is not only the sales of one-way fares that have increased, but tickets for people making exploratory visits to Australia," said Randall.

The regional manager for an immigration agency in South Africa said most of his clients were Afrikaans seeking a better lifestyle in Australia because it provides higher wages, low crime rates, employment equity, and a stable government. 

Charles Luyckx, joint CEO of removal company Elliott International, said many of the migrants were taking advantage of the skills shortage in the mining industry in Australia.  Under the General Skilled Migration program, overseas workers can apply for an Australian skilled migration visa if they intend to work in an industry considered to have a skills shortage.  The Australian Government is currently campaigning for more foreign workers to apply for jobs in the mining industry, particularly in South Australia and the Northern Territory so the country’s main source of GDP can support the continually expanding export economy.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau

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