Skilled American workers to fill labour shortages
Tuesday, 03 April 2012
Joint media release with Chris Bowen MP – Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Senator Chris Evans – Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research
The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, today announced measures to assist linking Australian employers with skilled workers in the US to fill skill shortages in key sectors.
With the demand for skilled construction workers likely to peak over the next three to five years as a number of resource projects are due to commence, both governments recognise the potential to match that demand with the potential supply of workers in the US.
These measures will allow workers from the US in licensed occupations, such as electricians and plumbers, to be granted immediate access to provisional Australian licences on arrival. More broadly, the skills assessment process will assure Australian employers how the skills of US workers align with their needs.
'While the government's first priority is to train Australians for jobs in the resources and construction sectors, projections show that we will need workers from overseas for a peak in activity in the next three to five years,' Senator Evans said.
'This is a great opportunity to address skill shortages in Australia by filling shortfalls in particular areas with qualified candidates from the United States, with applications expected to open from mid-April.
'I understand some of the relevant unions have been talking to their US counterparts about the opportunities for skilled US workers to fill shortages in the resources sector over the next three to four years.'
Currently, such workers need to be assessed onshore which can mean waiting months between entry and starting work. Under the new skills assessment process, US workers will be assessed against Australian regulatory requirements before entering Australia, providing certainty to applicants and employers.
Such assessments are available in other countries and it is only logical that we extend them to the US given their potential supply of workers and the interest of Australian employers.
To support employers in linking with potential skilled workers, Minister Bowen said the Australian Government had also decided to run its overseas program of Skills Australia Needs expos in the United States for the first time to attract skilled workers in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors.
'This initiative will provide information on skilled visa options to Americans with suitable qualifications, skills and experience and help them to work in Australia under a temporary employer-sponsored visa,' Mr Bowen said.
'They will be able to meet with Australian employers and state and territory governments to discuss possible sponsorship and employment opportunities in Australia.'
The expo will be held on May 19 and 20 in Houston, Texas.
Ambassador Bleich said he would make a special effort to ensure that returning US veterans are aware of the opportunities offered by this new initiative.
Last update: Tuesday, 03 April 2012 at 10:59 AEST