New figures released by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship indicate that despite the skills shortage and employment opportunities in Western Australia, the majority of skilled migrants are choosing to settle in the Eastern states.
The Australian Government’s plan to target skilled foreign labour to the Western Australian mining industry has been dealt a blow with the release of migrant settlement data this week.
The Australian Immigration Update 2010-11 shows that the number of skilled Australia visa holders moving to Western Australia fell 10% in the last financial year despite the publicly stated wishes of the Western Australian Government and industry to attract more skilled migrants.
Furthermore, the number of new permanent residents from overseas living in Western Australia also declined by 1300 to 34,233, despite an increase in Australia’s overall migrant intake. Of this number, 19,713 were from the Skill Stream of Australia’s migration program, down from 22,047 in 2009-10.
Meanwhile, despite offering fewer employment opportunities and more competitive labour markets, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland picked up the most new permanent migrants in 2010-11, with 65,700, 53.200 and 38,852 respectively. All three Eastern states recorded in increase in net migration.
Perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom for the WA job market though. Brian Briscoe, a Dublin-born, Perth-based recruitment consultant, has noticed a distinct, if stuttering, pick up in WA in recent months. “July was quite busy, and then it got quiet again in August,” he told the Irish Echo. “But definitely in the last six weeks I have seen a marked difference in recruitment.
“It has even surprised me how little bits of news, both positive and negative, have affected the market. For instance, the announcement of the approval of the $50 billion Gorgon gas project was an injection of certainty and really moved the market,” he said.
Mr Briscoe says the jobs market for civil contracting and engineering services into the mining and resources industry has picked up.
“Mining itself has not yet had a huge pick up, but we’ve seen a lot of companies supplying products into the mining sector bolster their sales teams again,” he said.
Mr Briscoe says specific jobs are now in demand in WA.
“Any form of civil engineering, people in technical roles, technical sales people, these are all needed,” he said. “There is work in any occupation linked into heavy industry, not just mining. There is also oil and gas and a lot of construction work in this state.”