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IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Evans has devised a package of measures to ease labour shortages by attracting more skilled workers to Australia, either permanently or on working holidays.
Three days after figures showed unemployment had fallen to a 33-year low of 4.1%, Senator Evans said the Government would immediately lift the quota for skilled migrants this financial year by 6000, most of whom would be sponsored by employers.
It will also ease the rules for backpackers visiting Australia on working holidays, allowing them an extra year on their visas if they spend three months in construction jobs in regional Australia.
Senator Evans said officials were also negotiating to expand the reciprocal working holiday program to more countries, and a three-member business panel had been appointed to advise him on changing the controversial section 457 visa program.
“Skills and labour shortages are a major cause of inflationary pressures in the economy,” he said. State governments and private firms had warned him that skilled labour shortages were hampering new and significant projects.
The Bureau of Statistics found a record 183,400 jobs vacant in November, and that number had been growing by roughly 15% a year. OECD figures revealed Australia was near the bottom of the developed world in spending on training for the unemployed.
The Howard government steadily increased the number of skilled migrant visas from 24,000 to 102,500 this financial year. The latest increase will lift this figure to 108,500, divided between employer-sponsored visas and those given to migrants with skills in demand.
“Employer-sponsored visas are the highest priority because they put a migrant worker directly into a skilled job,” Senator Evans said.
Generally, the working holiday program offers 12-month visas for young people if they come from countries providing the same employment access for young Australians. The rules already allow the visa to be extended a year for young people who take jobs for three months or more in regional Australia in agriculture, forestry, fishing or mining industries.
Senator Evans said their numbers, which almost trebled from 2690 to 7990 last financial year, were expected to hit 12,000 in 2007-08. “Extending this visa concession to work in construction industry in regional Australia could attract a further 5000 workers to that industry alone.”
After announcing last week that firms using section 457 visas would be required to consult the relevant union before their sponsorship application could be approved, he also moved to mend fences with business by appointing a panel to advise on priority areas for the scheme.
The panel will be chaired by Xstrata Australia chairman Peter Coates, a former head of the Minerals Council of Australia, and will include Melinda Cilento, deputy head of the Business Council of Australia, and Tim Shanahan, former head of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia.
The business leaders would be asked to tell the Government how the scheme could best be organised to tackle skills shortages. They will provide an interim report by March 14 and a final one in April.
The Coalition’s immigration spokesman, Chris Ellison, welcomed the panel’s appointment but dismissed the increase in skilled migration as “a drop in the ocean”.
(Posted on February 20, 2008)
To Prime Minister Evans -
Allow us to help you, Sir. How many workers do you need? We’ll be happy to help you out. 12 million? 20 million? 50? Just say the word. I’m surprised that President Calderon hasn’t been down under to beg you to take the few million he has left. The man has no shame. He’s like a snake oil salesman, touting the fact that Australia can’t exist without his illegal aliens. You might just be the answer to his prayers. By the way, they will be sending their money home while your citizens will be asked to pay for their education, medication and incarceration, so there are drawbacks. However, if you have a country full of people who don’t know how to do anything, as our own government believes, you’re on the right track. Just let us know. We’re happy to help our mates.
Posted by June at 5:50 PM on February 20
“State governments and private firms had warned him that skilled labour shortages were hampering new and significant projects.”
Hmm. ‘Significant’? Says who? Labor shortage or too many ‘projects’? Guaranteed that bringing in hundreds of thousands of new immigrants will create a never ending need for more special projects and then the cry for more immigrants. Australia need only look at the example of Europe, Britain or America to see the terrible outcome of having globalists in charge of immigration policy. Close your doors now, close ‘em tight. Give the immigration salesmen the boot, because what they are selling is nothing but the dreams of greed. It demands a price that neither you, nor your children, nor their children will ever be able to pay for. Ever.
Posted by Edward at 5:55 PM on February 20
Haven’t we heard this tune before? It seems like it is the one and only song that is played on the carousel that is Modern Economic Practice.* Just like pet rocks, cabbagepatch kids and tickle me elmo, the theory/justification itself is an orchestrated fraud.
i.e. Loyalty-Free Economics
Posted by at 6:13 PM on February 20
“*The Coalition’s immigration spokesman, Chris Ellison, welcomed the panel’s appointment but dismissed the increase in skilled migration as “a drop in the ocean”.*”
I remember a United States president saying tha the “1965 Immigration Act” *would not change the racial composition of the United States*.
What times we live in!
Posted by Obscuratus at 6:36 PM on February 20
How are they getting to Australia? Are they now swimming?
Posted by the Soviet Republic of New Jersey at 7:01 PM on February 20
The perpetual need to import more workers is a big lie. Don’t fall for it. This is because natural economic processes will solve the problem. For example, a restaurant owner or contractor who cannot find enough workers at a low salary only needs to raise his wages, and the problem will be solved. Yes, this makes the price of restaurant meals or a new home more expensive, so the businessman will need to raise prices. Fewer people will eat out or buy houses, so that in the end, a few of the thousands of restaurants or contractors that are less viable will need to close shop and find other work. This increases the supply of workers. Because of full employment, these people will easily secure alternative employment at good salaries. Full employment, at high salaries, allows workers to afford slightly higher prices, and produces more purchasing power and tax revenue, reducing tax rates, stimulating the economy. Meanwhile, the problems of ever-increasing overpopulation are solved, including less government expenditures on infrastructure and social programs, including new schools, roads, utilities, & welfare for unemployed. Overall, stopping immigration has economic, social, and environmental benefit.
Posted by at 7:02 PM on February 20
“The Coalition’s immigration spokesman, Chris Ellison, welcomed the panel’s appointment but dismissed the increase in skilled migration as “a drop in the ocean”.”
Assuming Australia’s population is already set to rise to 25 million by 2050, this increase of 6000 people per year equals 300,000 more people by that time, a 1.2 percent increase in the australian population. And that just assumes that the migrants merely reproduce at replacement rate. How much of a deceiving hack do you have to be to call that a drop in the ocean?
Posted by at 7:05 PM on February 20
If labor shortages are the problem and immigration is the answer, why are these immigrants given permanent visas?
Posted by Mike T at 7:10 PM on February 20
Unless we here in Australia turn over the work force to immigration from China leading to an ultimate “East Asian” country, the present jobs will go unfilled and our economy will sink into depression and ultimate collapse. This is a gloriously damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenerio.
Posted by Tim at 7:41 PM on February 20
If they want “skilled labour”, why not look to white places that have skilled labour and speak English — like Britain, Canada or the US?
Posted by at 8:08 PM on February 20
And I thought all those ‘highly skilled’ islamics, pacific islanders, and asians you already imported had eased all your economic woes. Just what Australia and other white nations need, more ‘highly skilled’ workers from the third world.
Posted by at 9:39 PM on February 20
Labor shortages means you have exceeded a resource. This is a natural limitation on growth, and should be respected.
There is no such thing in nature as infinite growth.
Posted by at 11:41 PM on February 20
Anytime businessmen start screeching about labor shortages and skills shortages, cover your ears. If this were really a problem, then skilled labor or just labor could be imported temporarily to deal with the problem. If the labor worked at normal wage levels, there would be no problems with this. This was the case in Japan and Taiwan. But that’s never why business is screeching. Did you see the bit about “inflationary pressures”? Since when do businessmen care about that? Rising prices are good for whatever commodity anyone is selling. Combine with short supply and you have paradise. “Inflationary pressures” is code speak for “wages are going up”. Obviously that means that more profit is going to the workers and less to the owners and shareholders. Can’t have that. So they are demanding mass importation of LOW WAGE LABOR, and especially LOW WAGE SKILLED LABOR. That’s what all this crying is really all about.
If a businessmen has his mouth open about anything political relating to his business, he’s probably lying. Never trust these people. They need to lie to live like the rest of us need to breathe.
Posted by Robert Lindsay at 11:55 PM on February 20
Increase labor supply, decrease real wages.
Increase labor supply, decrease investment in modernization & machinery….that is, decrease tech innovation.
Increase labor supply, foist external costs onto the public.
All bad for the historical populations. All good in short term for labor-intensive business. All good for the unskilled and semi-skilled (this is who will come). All good for home countries supplying the labor.
Generally, diasporas are bad news for historical populations world-wide. This is true more than ever in modern times. It is true even for a people that deny their provenance & history, and operate on mere economics…in times of scarce resources you have to make priority decisions!
Posted by jp straley at 9:49 AM on February 21
What this REALLY means is that we need lower wage skilled immigrants.
Posted by kc at 8:39 PM on February 21
I notice this article cites a need for “skilled labor.”
I really hope this means doctors, lawyers, business professionals, educators, paraprofessionals and the like.
Because if it does… then hold on Australia!
Give me just a few more years to finish my degree and then get my MBA.
I’m moving to Australia!
(I’ll assimilate within a generation too Aussies, promise ;-)
Posted by changing majors at 2:22 PM on February 22