Industry plea for big rise in skilled worker intake…
ONE of the country’s most prominent business lobby groups says Australia needs to add an extra 30,000 immigrants to its annual intake to cover growing skills shortages.
The Australian Industry Group is urging the federal government to increase the immigration intake from 190,000 this financial year to 220,000 for the 2015 financial year with an emphasis on skilled immigrants.
The lobby group made the recommendation as part of a submission to the government on the size of the immigration program to be set in the May budget.
Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said: “An increase in migrant numbers supports positive growth in our population and especially in our adult workforce, which is important due to relatively low rates of natural population growth.
“While upskilling our current workforce remains a priority, a larger skilled migration program will be necessary to manage the current situation and to assist in smoothing the path to future growth.”
He said a higher skilled immigration intake was appropriate given the low unemployment rate, the deepening impacts of an ageing workforce and skill shortages in mining services, engineering, infrastructure and health services.
“With early indicators suggesting a positive upturn in national housing market activity, we expect the residential and commercial construction cycles will pick up significantly from 2014-15 which will in turn lead to further skilled trade shortages,” he said.
Skill shortages and labour hiring difficulties have emerged as a key themes in industry research carried out by Ai Group.
In the six months to September close to 68 per cent of respondents to the group’s construction sector survey reported difficulty in hiring skilled labour.
The shortage was most acute in construction jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox says a higher skilled immigration intake is appropriate. Source: News Limited