09 June 2008

Senator Evans says unskilled visa applicants welcome in Australia

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the skills shortages in Australia had now become a labour shortage, which means more Australian visas are available for unskilled workers. The Minister told Sky News that New Zealand successfully trialled a strategy to attract unskilled workers, and he hoped to transfer that trial to the Australian market.

"We haven't traditionally brought in unskilled labour, but there are a couple of propositions around about how we might target what is increasingly a labour shortage, not just a skills shortage," Senator Evans told the website. He added that Australia would not be the only beneficiaries of the strategy, as immigrants will be able to send remittances to their homeland and will be able to return with skills they may not have otherwise developed.

The Minister also called for greater clarity in the Australian visa and refugee system, to boost accountability and ensure a firmer framework that does not focus on individual cases. Senator Evans recently told a Senate estimate hearing he wanted to become less directly involved in the decision-making process of Australian visas.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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