Fast Track For Skilled Immigrants

Fast track for skilled migrants

Mark Davis
Political Correspondent
The Sydney Morning Herald
June 26, 2007

SKILLED workers migrating to Australia will be fast-tracked under a Federal Government plan to set up skills assessment centres in several countries.

The Government will announce today that it has appointed a consortium to assess skills of would-be migrants in Britain, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The consortium of Victorian and West Australian TAFE colleges will concentrate on workers in occupations where there are shortages of labour in Australia, including electricians, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters and bricklayers.

The intention is to ease skills shortages by reducing the time it takes to approve immigration applications and ensure migrants arrive in Australia having met requirements for recognising their qualifications and gaining occupational licences.

The Minister for Employment, Joe Hockey, said yesterday that the offshore assessment centres would give more certainty for migrants and for local employers seeking to hire skilled workers.

Currently, people applying to come to Australia as skilled migrants have to send their paperwork, including details of their training and qualifications, to Australia for assessment.

Under the new system, these assessments will be carried out in their home country.

From the second half of this year, all prospective migrants with trade skills will be tested to Australian standards before coming to Australia.

Shortages of skilled labour have been a significant constraint on the Australian economy in recent years, especially in the fast-growing resources and construction sectors.