10 June 2008

New Australian visa scheme for unskilled workers

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A new scheme to bring thousands more Australian visa holders to the country to ease labour shortages may soon be approved by the Cabinet. A Pacific guest worker scheme is the latest attempt by the Rudd Government to fill the shortage of workers on farms and vineyards in the rural regions of Australia.

The proposition could see 5,000 extra workers on Australian visas enter the country, in plans which could be endorsed as early as next week by the Federal Cabinet. If approved, the Government will announce its plans to Pacific leaders in August.

The temporary Australian visa granted to the workers will allow Pacific Islanders to work in the country for seven months, and will be on the condition they work in regional areas.

In turn, the Government will assure Australian immigrants will be given standard wages and conditions. In addition, training will be provided to give the guest workers transferable skills to use in their home country. Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, has been recruiting to fill the skills shortage in Australia, but admits the labour shortage has now also become an issue.

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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