Research shows foreign workers “crucial” to mining towns

Skilled foreign workers are vital to underpinning the success of the mining and resources boom, according to new research from Central Queensland University.

Using Gladstone as a case study, Dr Ros Cameron from CQ University said the Gladstone Skilled Migration Research Report had shown skilled migrants were “crucial” in mining regions.

In a statement Cameron said skilled migration was able to provide a “vast range of essential workers” and large companies weren’t the only ones benefitting from foreign workers.

“It’s not just large industries bringing in skilled migrant engineers on 457 and 417 visas, there are small and medium businesses involved as well,” she said.

Apart from providing workers in the mining and resources sector, Cameron’s research showed skilled migration accounted for 51 per cent of general practitioners and dentists in Gladstone.

“Attraction, settlement and retention processes are therefore essential. While they are not universally good there are some great community-based initiatives here in Gladstone,” she said.

Cameron also said strategies to “combat racism” and promote public understanding were also key to retaining skilled migrants.

“A lot of work and activity has been undertaken in this space especially by the Gladstone migrant community groups and the Gladstone Regional Council however a lot more could be done,” she said.

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