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Skilled migration solutions for WA business.

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Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship  

Skilled migration solutions for WA business Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Rudd Government’s reform of the skilled migration program will enable Western Australian businesses to employ the workers they need, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.

Addressing the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Workforce Summit in Perth, Senator Evans said the comprehensive overhaul of the skilled migration program was designed to provide workforce solutions for the business community.

'The Rudd Government inherited a system driven by the large number of people who want to come to Australia rather than the needs of the Australian economy,' he said.

'There were thousands of cooks and hairdressers placed in the queue ahead of highly skilled occupations such as of doctors, nurses and engineers.

'This was an unsustainable system that was bad for our economy. The Rudd Government has implemented sweeping reforms to create a demand-driven migration system which targets the skills we need to meet the shortages in the local labour market.'

The Government’s reforms have seen the rate of employer and state-sponsored skilled migrants increase from 29 per cent in 2007-08 to 55 per cent this current year.

Latest figures illustrate businesses are already using the new system to recruit the skilled workers the Western Australian economy needs.

'In the last financial year, Western Australia accounted for a quarter of all Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) grants,' Senator Evans said.

'Western Australia’s share of the ENS market grew from 16 per cent in 2007-08 to 24 per cent in 2008-09.'

WA and Queensland have also both seen increases to the share of skilled migrants coming to their respective states. In 2004-05, 12 per cent of all permanent migrants

settled in WA. This figure has increased to 16 per cent and is likely to increase further.

'The Rudd Government recognises the special needs of the growing Western Australian economy and the reforms to the skilled migration program we have driven are delivering tangible results for employers both big and small,' Senator Evans said

'We are working with the Barnett government to finalise the state’s migration plan which will provide priority processing for specialist workers identified by the government.

'A demand-driven skilled migration program will deliver migrants with the skills our economy needs and ensure businesses can access the specialist workers needed to meet skills shortages.'

Senator Evans said the introduction of the new Skilled Occupation List, the tightening of regulations governing the temporary worker 457 visas, the introduction of state and territory migration plans and increased use of the ENS, enabled businesses and governments to target the workers they need.