20 April 2005

Australian Government targets skilled trades

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The Australian Government announced today it will introduce a range of measures to help employers, particularly in regional Australia, find people with the skills they need, when they cannot find them in the local labour market.

The Government will work with employer bodies on new visa arrangements to allow regional employers to take on apprentices from overseas on a fill fee paying basis. Where there are to Australians available, their visa will allow overseas nationals the undertake apprenticeships in the regional areas in trades that are in shortage. Overseas apprentices would pay their own way and be sponsored by an Australian organization.

After finishing their apprenticeship, they will be able to apply for permanent residence through existing regional migration visas.

This initiative will not only help address regional skill shortages but it will also enable regional education providers to become more competitive and sustainable.

Skills Targeting with Industry Bodies

In response to a request from industry, the Government will out-post DIMIA officers to ten key industry bodies to provide a direct point of contact and expert support to their members. These staff will work with industry to assis employers seeking skilled workers from overseas and to provide essential feedback to government on how Australia can become more competitive in getting the overseas skills it needs.

According to the government, this will strengthen industry involvement in the migration process.

These DIMIA offices will also work closely with industry to organise joint employer seminars on skilled migration and organise joint recruitment events.

Migration Occupations in Demand (MODL) List

A range of additional trade, engineering and other occupations will be added to the Migration Occupations Demand (MODL) list, for example bricklayer, electrician and plumber.

The MODL targets occupations in national shortage. Applicants with an occupation on the MODL receive priority processing of their application additional points on the General Skilled Migration points test. The MODL will be reviewed ever 6 months to ensure it remains responsive to emerging skill needs.

Expanding the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program The Government will expand the WHM program to help farmers get the seasonal harvest labour they need.

WHMs who do three months of seasonal harvest work in regional Australia will be able to apply for a second Working Holiday visa. People from all 18 countries in which Australia has a WHM agreement will be eligible. WHMs are from low-migration risk countries and are as a result less at risk from exploitation. They are mobile and willing to take on the experiences and challenges of working on farms and are highly valued by farmers for their seasonal work.

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