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Tradies drought and apprenticeship crash leads to importing of foreign skilled labor

Tradies drought and apprenticeship crash leads to importing of foreign skilled labor

Aug 02,2016

The Immigration Department’s wish list of foreign workers to fill skills shortages.

A drought of tradies and a crash in apprentice training means employers will be allowed to import more carpenters, electricians, plumbers and bricklayers over the next year.

The mining slump has convinced the Immigration Department to remove mining and petroleum engineers from its “skilled occupations’’ list.

Dental hygienists and technicians, environmental health officers and occupational health and safety advisers have also been kicked off the 2016-17 list.

But the Immigration Department will roll out the welcome mat for foreign tradies, teachers, doctors, nurses and even childcare managers to work in Australia.

Foreigners with qualifications on the official list can apply to migrate to Australia without an employer sponsoring them.

Construction project managers, project builders, engineering managers, mining production managers and childcare centre managers top the list of 183 jobs.

The Australian Brick and Block laying Training Foundation has told the Immigration Department that pay rates for brickies in Sydney have more than doubled from $850 to $2000 to lay 1000 bricks — equal to $2 per brick.

Master Builders Australia says half the young people who start an apprenticeship are dropping out before qualifying for a trade. The number of technical and trade apprentices nationally have fallen from 206,000 in 2010 to 174,900 at the end of last year.

 “While they might not be getting much during their three-year apprenticeship, they’ve got to look beyond that to the money they can earn later, and the ability to run their own business.’’

The federal Employment Department’s latest labor market report on the building trades shows that only one “suitable applicant’’ applied for every job advertised last year.

Employers filled just a third of the jobs advertised for construction trades people, the report says.

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said it was wrong to let employers bring in foreign tradies “at a time the economy is softening’’


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