Relax Immigration Laws, Says Woodside

Relax immigration laws, says Woodside

The Age
November 16, 2007 – 11:24AM

The head of one of Australia's biggest resource companies wants the next federal government to relax immigration laws so that more skilled workers can be recruited from overseas.

Don Voelte, CEO of Woodside Petroleum, said a shortage of skilled workers was one of the reasons Australian mining companies were not meeting global production targets.

“The rest of the world…are willing to trade professions and jobs lot more freely than maybe what some of the immigration laws here allow,” Mr Voelte told ABC-TV.

Mr Voelte said the government needs to look at relaxing 457 working visa conditions especially the length of time a worker could be in country and the amount of sponsorship companies could provide.

What effect this would have on the domestic workforce needed to be discussed, he said.

“Clearly this has to be discussed to make sure that there is not a negative impact to the Australian workers on wages and the amount of work hours that they want to work.”