21 July 2008

Minister urges for Australian immigration flexibility

A Government minister's suggestion to make Australian immigration more flexible to allow firms in the west of the country to tackle a skills shortage has been applauded. Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk told Australian Food News the proposal to let West Australia set its own skills requirements will increase its chances of attracting migrants.

Ms Quirk noted that West Australia's mining-related boom has drawn staff away from other sectors leaving them with a skills shortage - which has particularly affected the food service industry. She said Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans' suggestion that a state migration plans, rather than a nationwide one, would allow the state address this concern.

"A range of migration options tailored for [West Australia] is long overdue and we welcome working with the federal government and business to provide greater certainty about the future of our labour force," Ms Quirk told the news provider.

She added it was "heartening" that the Immigration Minister agreed the state should be allowed to have a say in its requirements and set skilled points tests to meet its needs. Ms Quirk also suggested employers in the state will "welcome" the chance to have input in addressing the skills shortage.

Last week, the Western Australian Master Builders Association backed Senator Evans' proposals to make the Australian immigration system more flexible, reports ABC.com. The organisation said it supported suggestions allow states to sponsor workers who fall outside the Migration Occupations in Demand List.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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