New immigration rules should help ease skills shortage: Ridout

15-02-2010

The Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group Heather Ridout has urged employers to take advantage of new changes to immigration rules to ease the skills crisis.

"Industry will look to the changes to immigration rules to better deliver the skills in genuine need in areas such as the trades, technical skills and engineering, Ms Ridout said.

Demand in many critical skills areas has not diminished and businesses are looking at the prospect of the re-emergence of acute skill shortages as the economy recovers. “Putting a greater emphasis on a demand driven system that better matches the needs of business will help ease this pressure, Ms Ridout said. “It will also help in the longer term to address the demographic pressures of our ageing population. 

"Training our own workforce is absolutely critical but of itself is not sufficient to meet our skills requirements. 

“Permanent and temporary immigration programs will remain an important part of the skills solution.”

Ms Ridout, who is a member of Skills Australia, said engaging Skills Australia in the development of the Skilled Occupation List to create a targeted skills list will enable skills in need to be identified in a more flexible and timely way.

"As with any major policy change of this nature there will undoubtedly be impacts on the training sector and we understand the concerns of the industry, Ms Ridout said.

“These concerns will only be heightened because of headwinds of the global financial crisis and the higher dollar and the transition should be closely monitored.  

“However, we strongly believe the direction of the reforms is the right one." 

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