Australia faces a skills shortage unless skilled immigration levels can be increased.
08 December 2010
More Australian Visas for skilled migrants needed for $150 billion worth of projects
More Australian Visas for skilled migrants needed for $ 150 billion worth of projects
Australia's resources and energy industry, which has more than $150 billion worth of new projects planned, has seen competition for labour and equipment intensify dramatically and there are fears that a skilled labour shortage will occur unless Australian Visa and immigration programs can adapt.
Companies including Rio Tinto, Leighton Holdings and Transfield Services have called for more flexibility to bring in skilled foreign workers under the 457 Australian visa program to fill labour gaps.
Without the timely input of skilled labour project timetables will increase dramatically, which will in turn fuel inflation in the broader economy.
The skills shortage could also lead to increasing costs for the planned energy projects, which could lead to further development delays.
Last week it was announced that there would be cost and timeframe increase for the Pluto LNG project, and as multi-billion-dollar projects look to start construction or ramp up production skills shortages may mean some planned projects may need to be project merged or even outright cancelled.
Rio Tinto alone will need 6000 more workers in the next five years to boost production by 50 per cent, and have called on the government to make changes to the 457 visa program, under which skilled workers could work in Australia.