The Northern Territory is facing a labour shortage due to the resources boom. According to Treasurer Delia Lawrie, the multi-billion dollar Ichthys gas plant alone will require nearly 20,000 extra workers over the next four years. The Territory would still be short of workers even after training locals and recruiting people from interstate, she said.
As a result of this, the Northern Territory is now allowed to welcome overseas workers following a government migration agreement with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and the Federal government. It is considered a positive step to help fill the Territory's skill shortage.
Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen agreed to negotiate a migration agreement for skilled workers with the Northern Territory before other states. It is envisaged that the new regional migration agreement will help the Territory fill its skill shortage using workers from overseas.
That agreement will be especially helpful for smaller Australian businesses that lose workers over the next five years to the resources boom, says the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce.
According to Chamber Chief Executive Officer Chris Young, the new system should be faster and easier than the 457 visa application process for temporary overseas workers. The new scheme would speed up the application process and shorten the process to no more than three months.
Smaller employers, who can demonstrate that they have genuinely tried to find local employees, will be able to very quickly get an approval to bring in foreign staff, Mr Young says.
Prepared by Bob Woodward & Associates: offering you business consultancy, accounting, payroll administration and ancillary services in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.