13 September 2012

Queensland to ease Australia visa requirements for skilled workers

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Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls has announced that the state will relax Australia visa requirements in order to attract more migrant workers to the area.

Australia visa

Queensland is to change its Australia visa requirements in an effort to attract more skilled workers.

The state of Queensland has perhaps benefited from the resources and mining boom in Australia more than all other states and territories other than Western Australia. However, Australia visa requirements are determined at state level, not federal level and Queensland has fallen way behind in numbers of skilled migrants.

Australia issued over 22,000 visas to skilled migrants last year yet Queensland issued just 212.

"Under Labor, Queensland has fallen behind other Australian states and today has some of the most onerous criteria for state-sponsored visas," said Mr Nicholls.

Under current visa policy, experience requirements are much stricter than in neighbouring states; an engineer wishing to live and work in Queensland is required to have has much as seven years experience, in Western Australia the same engineer would only require 12 months of experience.

In an effort to attract more foreign labour to the region and combat growing skill shortages, Mr Nicholls said the state would be working with the national government to offer more visas to foreign workers.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was vital that Queensland took advantage of the economic opportunity the mining industry presented.

"The revenue opportunities for a state like ours are very limited," said Mr Seeney.

"But one of the main revenue opportunities for this state is the royalty opportunities for this state is the...mining industry, principally the coal industry which is the biggest part.

"So it was no surprise that this government looked at this opportunity."

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