20 March 2012

10,000 new mining jobs means industry turns to Australia working visa

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A new mine in Western Australia will create 10,000 jobs and place additional strain on the already gaping employment gap, meaning the $7 billion mine owned by magnate Gina Rinehart will rely on Australian working visa holders to operate.

Australian visa

The new AU$7 billion (£4.6 billion) mine will struggle to fill its 10,000 positions solely from Australia.

Roy Hill, project managers for the mine, said 2,000 of the total new jobs will be 'highly paid' permanent positions for Australian residents, leaving the remainder open to skilled migrants entering the country on an Australian working visa.

Roy Hill applied to the government's Enterprise Migration Agreement in December which allows large scale projects to recruit foreign skilled workers.

Workers' unions in Western Australia have voiced their concern about foreign workers possibly taking jobs which could be filled by Australians but labour market analysts have doubted whether Australia has enough workers to fill the new employment gap.

"Once we're in full operation, the intention is to create 2,000 highly paid, full time permanent jobs for Australians by the beginning of 2015," said a Roy Hill spokesperson.

"However, to get there, over a three year period, that's how long the construction phase goes, we've actually got to have 8,000 construction workers.

"We'll bring in people for a while, scaffolders or riggers, crane operators or welders or boilermakers.

"Independent labour market analysts have said we've got a whole heap of shortages all through the project and we simply just can't get all those [workers] from Australia."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa applications with the Australian High Commission.

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