12 April 2005

No need to retrain; MG Rover workers eligible for a new life in Australia

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Workers from MG Rover’s Longbridge plant facing redundancy, and those who work in support and supplier channels, may have something to look forward to; a new life in Australia.

Australia’s dire skilled labour shortage means skilled British workers, like those from MG Rover, are in high demand.

'Workers from the Midlands who have been functioning at the Rover plant as engineers and those working as automotive electricians, fitters, fabricators, machinists, tool makers, motor mechanics, panel beaters, sheet metal workers, vehicle painters, welders, electrical and mechanical engineers, air conditioning mechanics and plant engineers are all in demand in Australia,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau.

‘If workers feel they are not in a position to retrain, they can apply to immigrate to Australia with the skills and experience they already have. Australia has a carefully managed immigration system; their economy is ready to absorb skilled workers.’

Under Australia’s point style system of immigration, workers and trades people on Australia’s skills shortage list are given additional points and priority processing through the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA).

Australia has been welcoming British skilled migrants in record numbers over the last decade. In 2003-2004 Australia welcomed upwards of 18,000 UK nationals to its shores. The Government is currently reviewing its immigration numbers, and is said to be considering increasing immigration levels by an extra 20,000 places this year alone. The country’s drive to attract skilled labour has not gone unnoticed.

‘Declining birth rates and ageing populations mean a future lack of skilled employees in the market place,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt. ‘Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand are fighting to attract the best and brightest immigrants. Governments are doing whatever they can to keep as well as attract skilled employees. Australia has been particularly aggressive in their marketing. But for many Brits, it’s an easy sell. The country offers a great quality of life – good weather and good value on the part of the Aussie dollar.’

‘MG Rover workers who are under 45, and who meet the skills requirement are in an excellent position to move to Australia, said Baerveldt. ‘The visa process can be lengthy, so I would strongly suggest anyone who is interested visit the Australian Visa Bureau web site at http://www.visabureau.co.uk/australia/assessment/skilled and fill in the online assessment to see if they meet the eligibility requirements.’

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