Effective 1 November 2011 the government have extended the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme to include Perth.
By extending the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme to include Perth, employers will be provided with another avenue to recruit the skilled workers they need from overseas and complements the existing range of temporary and permanent skilled visa options. RSMS allows employers to sponsor skilled workers from overseas to job vacancies. It also allows employers to sponsor workers who are here on a temporary visa for permanent residence. With most applicants for RSMS being former 457 visa holders, the scheme provides an opportunity for workers who have proved their value to an Australian employer, and found they like it here, to continue contributing to our economy.
As part of the Budget, the government announced the allocation of 16 000 places for the RSMS scheme. In his announcement speech, Chris Bowen MP stated “We are giving RSMS applications the highest priority, delivering the migrants Australia needs to the places where we need them most”.
According to the latest data, new capital expenditure in the mining industry in 2010-11 is estimated to be $55.5 billion. In real terms, this investment is the highest on record and nearly four times the average annual level of the past 30 years. The total value of all resource projects currently in the pipeline is around $380 billion — the equivalent of more than one-quarter of Australia's annual GDP. Western Australia is at the heart of this new investment. Of the $174 billion in planned investment on advanced projects in Australia, $109 billion is in Western Australia. Annual employment growth in the mining industry over the last seven years is at a very significant 10.4 per cent. This pace of growth, together with the pipeline of investment, is projected to lead to a shortage of 36 000 trades people by 2015.
While the resources sector is crucial for Western Australia, it is not the only industry in this state that requires overseas workers. Indeed, the great opportunities available for Australians in the resources sector are, in turn, leading to domestic labour shortages in other parts of Western Australia. Temporary and permanent migration play a critical role in meeting demand for labour and addressing capacity constraints. The mining boom has generated labour shortages not only in mining, but also in other industries as people have been attracted into the resources sector. Nowhere is this more the case than Perth.