Skilled migrants aren't stealing mining jobs from Australians, and the resources industry couldn't function without them, according to new research.
Releasing findings from a new study yesterday, Edith Cowan University academic Dr Susanne Bahn said foreign workers in the mining sector were taking on roles that locals couldn't be trained for.
"This study is the first of its kind in Australia and shows that although the resource industry prefers to employ Australian workers first, some of the skills required are specialised and only taught in one or two institutions globally, which means the skill set required is simply not available," she said.
"Due to the lack of specialised skilled workers in Australia these companies are using their global workforce and employing them where and when they are needed."
In a statement Australian Mines and Metals Association director Minna Knight said the research confirmed the industry's foreign workers provided a "short-term solution".
"Contrary to misinformation from some in the union movement, it costs employers significantly more to hire overseas workers, with employers also required to implement training programs to ensure key skills are passed onto the local workforce and remain in Australia," she said.
The final ECU report will be released later this year.