AUSTRALIAN IMMIGRATION NEWS
Construction work visa changes on cards for Australian immigration
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Construction workers wanting to live around the beach and wine regions could be in for a treat if Kevin Rudd follows through with immigration changes.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has recently addressed the skills shortages in Australia's construction industry.
A special visa that will allow easier entry into Australia for builders could be introduced within three months of government approval.
It will be sponsored by the Housing Industry Association, or HIA, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Currently, the shortage in skilled workers is slowing construction. Rudd said he'll consider a housing industry proposal for a special immigration visa to attract builders.
"We want builders near beaches, wine-growing areas and country regions that are suffering chronic skills shortages," said Chris Lamont, executive director of the Housing Industry Association. "The U.S. would be the biggest market for workers because it is suffering huge job losses amid a housing slump."
Australia is planning to recruit up to 15,000 US painters, carpenters and builders and place them in its beach and wine regions.
These include places, such as Geraldton, which is situated on the Western Australian coast, and the eastern Hunter Valley wine region.
The skills crisis has worsened, because Australian mining companies are hiring workers as they boost production to meet demand from Chinese steelmakers.
This has sent the jobless rate to a three- decade low of 4.1% as the economy enters its 17th year of economic expansion.
Adding to this, the Australian government wants companies to build 100,000 low-cost rental properties, as housing affordability is currently at a record low and interest rates are at a 12-year high.
"When you bring in skilled workers, obviously it assists on the supply side of the economy by aiding, for example, the residential sector," Rudd said.
But living alongside beaches and vineyards are not the only drawcards set to entice construction workers. Australian builders are also better paid.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average wage for Australian construction workers in 2006 was between $813 and $842 a week. In comparison, U.S. building workers only received an average weekly wage of $660.
If you would like to work in Australia, you can find out which work visa you qualify for by doing our free online visa eligibility assessment. It will deliver almost instant results.
Rochelle van der Merwe | Migration Expert Australia