Skilled migrant numbers tipped to rise

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Four in five WA companies are planning to hire overseas workers in the next 12 months, according to audit firm KPMG.

The KPMG study said the influx of skilled migrants was due to the growing skills shortage problem across the country.

It said skills shortages were growing in every state except Queensland, and had affected 61 per cent of surveyed employers, up ten per cent from last year.

KPMG partner in migration services Jason Berry said WA’s high housing costs were a deterrent for workers from other states.

He said improving job opportunities in eastern states would also make it harder for WA firms to find staff.

According to the study WA was experiencing the strongest rise in skills shortages, and statistics from the Immigration Department suggest employers are already taking action to solve the problem.

WA’s intake of 457 visa workers rose 85 per cent in July compared with the same month last year.

UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk told The West Australian skilled immigration was damaging local training.

“We are concerned about a culture developing in which employers turn to 457 visa workers rather than training,” she said.

But in its submission to the Federal Government’s employment taskforce the APPEA said there were many benefits to be had from employing skilled migrants.

“These skilled workers pass on their techniques and experience through knowledge transfer to Australian industry, thus sharing critical experience and good practices from overseas and adding value to the economy.”

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