18 March 2011

Western Australia Premier supports relaxation of Australia visa rules

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West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says he supports relaxing the English language test for skilled workers applying for employer-sponsored temporary work visas.

Australia Visa

The WA premier said relaxing Australia Visa rules for employer-sponsored applicants would help skilled labour levels.

The premier said relaxing Australia visa rules for employer-sponsored applicants would help get more skilled labour into the state and will help to address a looming future skills' shortage.

"Western Australia gets about 20 per cent of the immigration into Australia so we do bat above our weight," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"But why not relax the rules, why not allow more people to come in, let them get jobs, work in Australia, become Australians? That's the way this country was built."

WA's Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier recently met Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans and Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen in Canberra to discuss workforce needs in the state and the need for greater Australia Immigration flexibility.
Mr Collier said research by his department showed the state could face a shortage of up to 150,000 skilled workers by 2017, during a sustained period of growth.

Also discussed at the meeting included the need to expand the type of skilled occupations that qualified for  employer-sponsored visas, greater use of Australia Working Holiday Visa holders and those with student visas, and incentives to increase the number of foreign students entering Australia.

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