07 April 2006

One year on: Former MG Rover employees still eligible for a new life in Australia

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Workers from MG Rover’s Longbridge plant who faced mass redundancies this time last year remain in high demand in Australia as the country’s booming economy suffers from a continuing skills shortage in the automotive sector. Skilled British workers, like those from MG Rover, are particularly in demand in the State of Victoria, where three major automotive companies design and manufacture vehicles and components.

‘Right now Australia is accepting one international migrant every 4 minutes and 47 seconds, and they show no signs of slowing down. Their ageing population and growing economy means they are marketing to attract skilled people like hairdressers, pastry chefs, wall and floor tilers, plumbers and workers in the automotive sector,’ said Baerveldt.

‘The best opportunities for former MG Rover employees are in and around Melbourne. Holden, which is a General Motors company, Ford and Toyota all have engine plants in Victoria. And of course, there are supply chain companies associated with those plants looking for workers too,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau. ‘A lot of workers in the Midlands area retrained following last year’s redundancies, but the option remains for some of them to work again in the automotive sector in Australia.’

Engineers and those working as automotive electricians, fitters, fabricators, machinists, tool makers, motor mechanics, panel beaters, sheet metal workers, vehicle painters, welders, electrical and mechanical engineers, air conditioning mechanics and plant engineers are all in demand in Australia. The country’s skilled migrant preference list, known as the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) was updated last week to include 16 further occupations.

Of the 81 occupations listed, over half are trades people. Under Australia’s point style system of immigration, workers and trades people on Australia’s skills shortage list are given additional points and priority processing through the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA).

‘Workers with six year relevant experience and who have worked in one of Australia’s Skilled Occupations would be eligible for emigration,’ said Baerveldt. ‘A recent report out of Australia noted that diesel fitters are in a position to earn upwards of A$150,000 a year. That salary provides a fantastic quality of life in Australia.’

‘Former MG Rover workers and those in supply chains who are under 45, and who meet the skills requirement are in an excellent position to move to Australia,’ said Baerveldt. ‘The emigration process can be lengthy; to begin though, I would suggest anyone who is interested in emigrating to Australia visit Australian Visa Bureau and fill in the online assessment to see if they meet the basic eligibility requirements.’

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