The mining industry's rapid expansion means migrant workers are making up the numbers in Australia's workforce.
12 January 2012
Australian migrants needed to support booming mining industry
As the Australian mining industry continues to grow, Australia is looking to foreign born workers to fuel the growing economy. According to the Australian Mines and Metals Association as many as 200,000 positions will need to be filled by 2016.
The Australian government has already introduced some measures to entice workers to Australia; in 2011 it implemented a scheme to fast track Australian visa applications for positions at mining or construction projects with capital expenditure of at least AU$2 billion (£1.3 billion).
However, new predictions fear the Australian immigration authority's measures might not be enough as not only will positions within the commodities sectors need filling by migrant workers, but the industry's growth creates the necessity more jobs outside the industry, sometimes as many as three jobs for every one in the mining industry.
Western Australia is quickly proving to be the hub of the mining sector with 52,000 migrants alone employed there in the past year. The rest of Australia isn't far behind however, with 56,000 jobs to migrants in Queensland in the past three years and almost 87,000 in New South Wales over the past three years.
While the growing number of migrant workers has led some to the belief that foreigners willing to work for lower wages than Australian citizens have priced locals out of precious jobs, recent research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown that many of the migrant workers enter highly paid positions.
"The largest proportion of employed recent migrants was in the 'professionals' occupation group - 27%. This was almost double the proportion employed in the next highest occupation group, technicians and trade workers [14%]" said the study.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.