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Australian Mining Industry Continues To Push For More Immigration

08 Dec 2010


Unemployment rates fall across Australia. Mining industry is stressing for more immigration to support the planned $140 billion in mining-related projects located mostly in northern Australia.

Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto iron ore executive director, told The Australian that the industry has to be careful not to create a situation where tradespeople across many occupations all head north at once to fill labour shortages.

Walsh considers that there would be shortages in specific areas leading to overheating of labour market and that it will not good for Australia's terms of trade or improving the basic economics of employment.

Walsh believes the 457 temporary work visa needs to be made more flexible.

"I'm not talking about a guest worker program -- I'm talking about 457s providing more flexibility, providing a longer period," he said.

Also, it is expected that the changes to points based system in summer 2011 will make it more difficult for tradespeople to immigrate to Australia.

The changes are meant to favor more highly skilled occupations, such as researchers and scientists. The changes to the system will particularly hurt the mining industry, which depends heavily on people in trades occupations.

John Grill, chief executive of engineering firm WorleyParsons, said that not enough people are working in trades related jobs in Australia.


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