09 February 2010

Australian immigration policy changes welcomed by mining industry

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The recent Australian immigration policy changes have been welcomed by the mining sector, which is struggling to find skills workers to meet China’s demand for raw materials.

Australian Skilled Migration

Australian immigration policy changes have been welcomed by the mining industry, which is suffering from a severe lack of skilled workers.

The Australian Immigration minister, Senator Chris Evans, made the policy announcement yesterday saying Australia will abolish the current list of 106 skills in demand and review a points test used to assess migrants.

"We want to make sure we're getting the high-end applicants," he  said.

Mr Evans said the new immigration program would focus on health workers, including more doctors and nurses, as well as engineering and mining.

Australia's mining sector is struggling to find tens of thousands of staff to support major firms like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto as they expand to meet China's growing demand for resources, as well as the discovery and expansion of several major natural gas fields in Western Australia.

Last year, Exxon Mobil Corp announced an AU$41 billion contract to provide liquefied natural gas to PetroChina Co., Asia's largest oil and gas company, from the soon-to-be-developed Gorgon gas field.

Australian Mines and Metals Association Chief Executive Steve Knott told Australian radio that the industry needs people on the job now and the demand going forward will be even greater as these projects get off the ground.

"The boom in the resources sector, particularly in the north-west of Western Australia, has been quite strong so we welcome the decision that has been made," he said.

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