OVERSEAS workers will have more opportunities to work in the mines in Queensland as the government moves to boost its skilled migration visa availabilities.
Last financial year, Queensland sponsored 212 skilled migration and business migration visas while 22,247 state-sponsored spots were filled across the country.
In an attempt to ease the skill shortage in the resources industry in Queensland, the State Government will work with the Federal Government to offer more state sponsored visas to overseas workers.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced a comprehensive analysis of the state’s criteria for the visas. “Under Labor, Queensland has fallen behind other Australian states and today has some of the most onerous criteria for state-sponsored visas,” he said.
Under current visa requirements, an engineer applying to work in the mines in Queensland has to prove seven years of work in the field. In Western Australia, the requirement is only 12 months.
While mining companies would welcome the boost to the skilled workforce, it doesn’t make up for the hike in royalties outlined in the Budget.
The Queensland Government will increase royalty rates to 12.5% for coal valued between $100 and $150 a tonne and 15% thereafter.
Mining companies have condemned the move saying it will force investment elsewhere and cause job losses.
Courtesy of Queensland Times
This is welcome news as prior to this there has been some concern expressed that the Queensland government was being too precious with it s nomination approval powers and in the process had lost the opportunity to capture valuable entrepreneurial and business acumen to other more accommodating states and territories. The number of nominations and visa applications approved compared to other states was pitiful and showed that our government stewards had lost the plot and other states have benefitted from this arrogance.
Figures obtained from DIAC for the previous Distinguished Talent visa, which recognises individuals of exceptional talent and was part of the previous Business Skills program, show that in the program year 2011-12 Queensland approved no applications at all, where Victoria and Western Australia approved 36 and 53 applications respectively! Even South Australia approved 12 applications.
Hopefully the recent announcement will reverse this worrying trend across the range of state sponsored visas available to the Queensland government!