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Industry leaders in Australia are urging the Australian federal government to overhaul its skilled immigration program to address a looming shortage of workers.

Recent changes by DIAC to the skilled migration visa processing times have meant that many hundreds of applicants for visas have been told that they may have to wait up to 3 years and this is slated to impact on several massive projects announced for Western Australia, including the Gorgon gas development, expansion of the Pluto LNG plant and the development of the Mid-West iron ore region including the massive Gindalbie iron ore mine which will need upwards of 1500 workers during the construction stage.

 The recent Australian Financial Review (afr.com.au) has stated that skills shortages are set to intensify in coming years.

The article calls for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to urgently look at reviewing Australian visa policies to ensure that these shortages can be filled. More immigrants will be needed to work in Australia in industries such as energy, mining  and IT which, according to the review, face a major skills shortage unless something drastic is done to alleviate it.

Major Australian firms such as infrastructure giant United Group have also released warnings to the government that they will be facing skills shortages within 12 to 18 months.

The firm’s CEO Richard Leupen declared that the shortage has been brought about as a result of the tightening of the business visa rules. He says this has coincided with the company’s reduction in training programmes for staff in response to the recession.

In the IT industry, the need is even more acute. A study, commissioned by Microsoft Australia, has found the IT industry will generate $21 billion for GDP by the end of 2013 but any potential growth could be stifled by the shortage of skilled labour.

Bruce Mills, chief executive of IT consultancy firm 3W, says as more IT work becomes available, such as the National Broadband Network, companies will struggle to grow and obtain new projects if the number of skilled workers remains flat.

“What has occurred is that everything that was done to avoid the global financial crisis has sort of spilled over, and so by the time any of the results were felt any issue that caused the crisis is over, and that is what has happened with the tightening of 457 visas.”

Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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The Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race will be a part of the 7,500 nautical mile Around Australia Race and Rally event.

Bob Williams the CEO of Ocean Events Pty Ltd, the Western Australian company behind the 2011 ‘Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally’ has spent the last few days in Broome, located in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, and an important stop-over port for both the Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally.

Williams has been meeting with local authorities and business people discussing the event coming to Broome waters in August and September 2011.

‘I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception that I have received in Broome and the enthusiasm for our event. Broome people will make this a memorable stop-over port that everybody associated with both the Race and Rally yachts will thoroughly enjoy.’

Incorporated into the 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race is the Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race. The Perpetual Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race Trophy is designed and manufactured in Broome by the internationally renowned pearl jewellery company Linneys of Broome.

Principal owner of Linneys Mr Bill Reed yesterday gave Bob Williams and Broome Shire President Mr Graeme Campbell the first viewing of of the trophy.

Linneys apprentice Joshua Gower is the proud craftsman of this fine trophy a copy of which will be taken home by the winning skippers of the 2011 Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race.

Originally founded as a pearling port over a hundred years ago, Broome now boasts a multicultural population of many nationalities lured here by the promise of finding their fortunes. Asian, European and Aboriginal cultures have all blended to create a captivatingly friendly and flamboyant personality that is the heart and soul of Broome.

Broome pearls are recognised as the best in the world and pearling remains one of the town’s major industries.

Broome has a permanent population of 15,000 which expands to 40,000 around the time of the Broome Cup Week horse racing carnival (August) attracting visitors from all over Australia and around the world.

The crews of the Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally yachts, shore crew, family, friends, supporters, sponsors, and local and international media people are bound to be captivated by Broome – one of Western Australia’s and Australia’s best loved tourist attractions.

‘Since we opened the doors for Slot Reservations we have been staggered by the responses for both the Race and Rally – still about neck and neck in event preferences at this stage.

Skandia – 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally for Cruisers  Andrea Francolini ©  

 

‘We’ve heading towards 100 boats now from 100 foot super maxis to Transatlantic racers, from cruising and racing catamarans and many cruising monohulls and the reservations just keep rolling in and we expect that at this rate we will have a total of around 300 reservations.

‘It’s very gratifying to see such interest in the event. It’s plain that the event has such national and international appeal with Event Slot Reservations coming in from South Africa, Europe, the USA, and New Zealand already.

‘Some very significant Australian yacht clubs have chosen to join with us in planning and running this major event and we will be making announcements about that in coming days.

‘Please get your Slot Reservations in as soon as possible, the news is spreading internationally now!!’

Got to www.sailaroundaustralia.com.au to read more and fill in your Slot Reservation now

Source  :  www.sail-world.com

 

 

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The professional association representing migration agents, the Migration Institute of Australia, is concerned about allegations raised on tonight’s Four Corners program on migration and education scams.

“Unfortunately, hearing reports about international students and visa applicants falling prey to unscrupulous operators is not a new issue”, says Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

In May 2008, the MIA reported 60 rogue agents from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and is unaware if any of these were prosecuted.

Any unethical or illegal behaviour by registered migration agents is not tolerated by the Institute and should be cracked down on by the Department.

“We’ve been asking government to sort out problems with education agents and illegal or unscrupulous operators for an extended period of time. The announcement that education agents will have a register is a first step but doesn’t go far enough in reforming the sector,” says Ms Horder.

A recent independent report, entitled Changing Together, confirms the nature of some of the problems which affects the profession – that the bad behaviour of a minority of unscrupulous operators’ impacts negatively on the entire migration advice profession.

“Following the report’s release, the MIA is acting on a comprehensive range of reforms to strengthen standards and ethics of migration agents.” says Ms Horder. These include:

• Comprehensive reform to the education and training of agents
• Requiring current Registered Migration Agents to requalify to a higher standard of English language and professional competence
• Introduce a tiered system of registration to protect consumers
• Formation of an independent complaints body with the power to review fees

Responsibility for change should be shared by education providers, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

“I wait with interest to see tonight’s Four Corners episode and hope that it will provide an added impetus for the key stakeholders to come together and develop appropriate policies to meet Australia’s educational and immigration interests without anyone being exploited.”

  • Source  :  www.mia.org.au
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    The MIA WA State Conference is a ‘must attend’ event, with a host of experienced industry speakers confirmed to participate. This annual event will inform and update migration practitioners on the latest issues affecting the profession and wider community.

    The conference is a full day event, taking place at the Frasers Conference Centre, Kings Park, Perth on Friday 21 August, 2009.

    The WA State Executive have secured the following DIAC representatives and Immigration experts:

    • Paul Farrell, WA State Director, DIAC
    • Glen Dival, Manager, 457 Centre of Excellence, Perth DIAC
    • Tim McDonald, Assistant Director, Service Channel Support, DIAC
    • Bruce Needham, Regional Manager, WA Community and Detention Operations, DIAC
    • Wayne Parcell, RMA and lawyer, Executive Director, Human Capital, Ernst and Young
    • Kim Hunter, RMA and lawyer, Migration Professionals
    • The new CEO of the Office of the MARA, Christine Sykes, has also been invited to present.

      Following the event, a gala dinner will be held at the Frasers Restaurant. This is an excellent opportunity to network with your colleagues, whilst enjoying a three course meal overlooking Kings Park. 

    • Source  :  http://mia.org.au/latest-news/WA-State-Conference-Program-announced-209.html

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    Migration Agents – Migrant numbers need to increase to support infrastructure projects

    The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has warned the government that work on infrastructure projects will be difficult to accomplish following the decision to put australian-immigration-construction-workers restrictions on the skilled migration program.

    While the MIA welcomed the Australian immigration ministers decision to increase the number of humanitarian and family reunion Australian visas for the 2009/10 Migration Program, they were less than impressed with the decision to remove a number of trade-level occupations from the skilled occupation list.

    “The MIA awaits with great interest to see how the Government proposes to administer the new job-readiness criteria for trade occupations. It’s hard to imagine a one-size-fits-all assessment system of employability,” said Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

    The Government reduced the Australian skilled migration program at the turn of 2009, when the recession was starting to take effect. The planning level for the remainder of the 2008-09 financial year was reduced from 133,500 to 115,000 skilled migration visas and the Critical Skills List (CSL) and priority processing order were both introduced so that the Government could target the skills it needed most.

    As of the 01 July 2009, the Australian skilled migration planning levels will be further reduced to 108,100 visas, and the CSL and priority processing order will remain as guidelines for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s visa processing officers. This means that sponsored visas and independent visas with skills nominated in the health, engineering and IT sectors will constitute a major part of Australian visa approvals during the start of the next financial year.

    Fortunately, the Australian skilled migration program remains flexible to the needs of the Australian economy. While states/territories and employers have been given greater power to target the skills they need, the Immigration Minister Chris Evans also has the ability to extend the planning levels for the Australian skilled migration program and amend the CSL so that certain nominated trades can have priority for processing, if the economy needs a boost in skilled workers.

    Senator Evans said in a recent statement that the Government is committing itself to “a long-term planning framework for migration as a key component of the current reform agenda” and that their extension of the family migration scheme is testament to its perception of the importance of family.

    “We are recognising the importance of family through this boost which will benefit Australians who seek to have their parents, partners or children join them to live here permanently,” Senator Evans added.

    The family stream of the Australian migration program has had 2,500 places added to the Spouse and Fiancée Visa program, 1,000 places to the Parent Visa program, and 300 to the Child Visa program.

    Source www.gettingdownunder.com

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