In June the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) hosted a series of meetings in the United Kingdom to promote the migration of professionals in certain industries to Australia.
The free events, named Skills Australia Needs, were targeted at skilled workers in specific business areas, with invitations being issued to employees in critical sectors.
Held in London, the gatherings brought together professionals with backgrounds in engineering, healthcare, construction and selected fields of IT with experienced department officers to discuss the potential opportunities in Australia.
Events in Birmangham on June 4 and Bristol on June 11 were also aimed at generating interest in skilled migration to Australia in business sectors identified by the DIAC as being desperately short of of workers.
The United Kingdom is one of the greatest providers in terms of professional international employees, with British expatriates making up nearly 20 per cent of Australia's skilled migrant workforce.
Industries that benefit from this flow of workers include the nursing, finance, automotive, electrical and construction trades.
Employees considering the prospects offered by skilled migration would do well to contact an experienced immigration lawyer to explore their options.
The events also included Australian employers brought to the United Kingdom by the DIAC. These businesses were selected by the department for the meetings as they belonged to industry sectors suffering shortages in workers with critical skills.
Initial results indicate that the gatherings were a tremendous success, with state officials and business representatives reporting that a number of offers of jobs and sponsorships were made as a direct result of the gatherings.
In fact the DIAC reported that over 100 offers were issued by companies during the meetings in the United Kingdom and that employers who were able to attend remained "overwhelmingly supportive" of the initiative.
Businesses that find themselves lacking employees with specific skill sets can apply to the DIAC for the right to hire migrant workers with the necessary professional training.
These firms may find the 457 visa - which allows companies to sponsor international employees for up to four years - to be useful in providing them with the workforce necessary to remain competitive.
However, the process of applying for sponsorship can be time-consuming and costly, with most application fees to the DIAC being non-refundable should the process stall.
Companies interested in hiring skilled migrant workers would do well to contact an experienced migration lawyer to gain an up-front assessment of their application.