30 January 2007

Australia attracts more engineers and builders

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The number of skilled engineers and builders emigrating to Australia nearly doubled last year, the latest immigration figures reveal.

A boom in the construction industry in states like Western Australia has increased demand for building and engineering professionals, leading to 2,684 new workers being added to the work force, up from 1,420 the previous year.

Combined with a rise in exports of natural resources to help meet demand from China and other Asian economies, demand for engineers with mining specialisations continues to be high. The most popular occupational group amongst new migrants in Australia continued to be computing professionals (3,940 persons), closely followed by accountants (3,471 persons), then elementary clerical, sales and service workers (2,905 persons).

Last year a record 97,340 persons entered Australia through the Skilled Migration Programme, accounting for 68 per cent of the total Migration Programme last year. Ten years ago skilled arrivals accounted for less than a third of new residents.

The prospects of overseas workers finding a full time job have also improved with unemployment rates amongst people born in mainly English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland at just 3.5 per cent.

Australia’s overall Migration Programme saw 142,930 new arrivals, the largest since the late 1980s, and this present year’s new arrivals could number even more with plans by the government to admit between 134,000 to 144,000 – the majority again under the Skilled Migration Programme.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship migration branch assistant secretary Greg Mills said immigration had helped Australia expand its economy and raise living standards for all.

'In 2005-06, the Migration Programme received 142 930 places, with more than 97, 000 places in the skill stream,' Mr Mills said.

'The Government also increased the family stream places to 45 290 for 2005-06, an increase of 8.5 per cent over the previous year.'

Mr Mills said improving and fine-tuning immigration policy was an ongoing process.

'Changes to the programme are designed to serve Australia's interests and help meet the needs of states, regions and industry,' he said.

'Last year, employer sponsored and state/territory government sponsored migration increased by 17 and 47 per cent respectively over 2004-05.'

Builders and Engineers looking to live and work in Australia should firstly see if they qualify for emigration under the Skilled Migration Programme. The Australian Visa Bureau offers free online assessments for all permanent and temporary migration to Australia.

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