Agricultural groups as well as over 20 other industry groups are encouraging the Australian government to consider allowing a new migration program through parliament. This proposed program is focusing on the regions and states of Australia which are experiencing noticeable skill shortages. If the new program is approved it would allow these areas to employ semi-skilled foreign workers.
Targeted migration would assist areas such as South Australia and Tasmania who are experiencing low economic growth to re-stimulate growth through employment. In addition to the physical regions embracing the concept, industries are acknowledging the need for change in order for them to attain the workers they require. “Across industry there is a need for this particular level of skill that we can’t always find in the local labour market and there is no visa that provides for it,” said Sarah McKinnon, manager of National Farmers Federation. The suggested modelling of the legislation indicates that the new ‘zones’ targeted could possibly attract 40,000 new migrants and work with industries in sourcing the workers they so desperately need.
The existing 457 skilled visa program has been put in the spotlight for not accommodating semi-skilled workers whose skills would be more than adequate for particular industries struggling to find workers. Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon is leading the charge by introducing the legislation to the Migration Act next month. The introduction will be backed by such industries as horticultural and the National Baking Industry who are struggling to find workers to fill vacant positions and allow the industry to grow.
As well as particular industries reaping the benefits of the changed migration program, communities suffering from declining population would also benefit. “This program will be a win-win for struggling areas of the nation — boosting the local economy and boosting jobs in the process,” said Mr Xenophon.
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