Mining and construction sectors benefit from foreign workers

Date: Apr 20, 2012

Mining and construction industries throughout Australia continue to benefit from migrant workers, latest figures from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) suggest.

In the year leading to February 21, nearly 2,500 foreign workers travelled to Queensland alone to fill vacancies, with many more likely to have arrived in other states and territories.

Lawyers in immigration may have seen a rise in business during this period, as 34 per cent of all international arrivals in the state came to in Australia to work in these industries.

The DIAC indicated that the sessions it runs on immigration may have had a positive impact, as people are given information on how to make a successful application for residency.

For example, it ran an event in Katherine earlier this month to provide advice on skilled migration, student visas, citizenship and community programs that have been introduced for migrants.

Darwin will be welcoming a similar event on April 26 that will focus on Regional Migration Agreements - these were introduced to help address labour shortages in certain sectors.

The short-term measure is expected to benefit those living in regional Australia and gives employers the opportunity to sponsor workers from outside the country.

The UK remains the biggest supplier of skilled migrants, the latest DIAC figures showed, while the US and India ranked in second place.

One of the most popular visas among migrants has been the 457 or temporary long-stay visa, which was granted to around 1,360 workers.

Meanwhile, the number of international workers rose from 560 to 1,180 over the past 12 months.

In terms of the average wages paid to the migrant workers moving to Queensland, a construction worker can expect to earn an average of $124,400 a year.

Miners, on the other hand, can expect an average annual salary of $131,900 in the state.

Nick Behrenscor, Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland advocacy general manager, explained that migrant workers are necessary because few Australians are prepared to relocate to regional areas.

He continued: "They don't want to go west, they want to stay on the eastern seaboard and aren't prepared to relocate to regional Queensland.

"The process is very stringent, you cannot source a 457 visa if there are people to fill the position."

Another state currently benefiting from the mining boom is Western Australia, with many migrants heading to the area to take advantage of the situation.