Reopening skilled migration to supplement Australia’s talent pool will be crucial to securing the enormous pipeline of projected growth in the resources and energy industry.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said from December 1, 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders will be able to come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.
“Eligible visa holders, including skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, temporary, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders,” Morrison said.
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said the announcement on international skilled immigration was welcome news for Australia’s resources and energy industry, which has been crippled by skills shortages.
“In daily conversations with AMMA’s resources and energy members, working in all sub-sectors right across the nation, finding the right number of skilled employees continues to be the most pressing and most severe challenge,” Knott said.
“Despite leading the nation’s economic performance throughout COVID-19, difficulties in attracting skilled employees in the scale required has presented a very real risk to future resources and energy project growth and the enormous role it will play in Australia’s fiscal recovery.”
AMMA’s annual workforce forecasting report has identified 98 projects that are advanced in planning stages and could create over 100,000 jobs between now and 2026.
“Without access to supplementary international skilled labour, even in the very small numbers utilised by resources employers historically, many of these projects may be deemed unviable to proceed,” Knott said.
“The national Labour Market Portal also predicts key resources and energy occupations – including mining and petroleum engineers, geophysicists, skilled operators and trade technicians – will remain in very tight supply over coming years.
“There needs to be a circuit breaker to the present unsustainable situation of Australian industries cannibalising each other for talent. This is occurring across the skills spectrum from operators and tradespeople to chefs, hospitality professionals and cleaners.
“The arrival of skilled migrant employees in some of these key occupations will ease the great anxieties of employers on how they will both continue to resource existing operations and secure the skills required to support expansion and new project growth.”