An increasing number of Australian resource companies apply for permission to hire foreign workers
Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has recently announced that an increasing number of companies is applying for permission to hire foreign workers for their projects. This creates an intense debate within the country brought in by industry critics who claim that Australians are not being considered for jobs.
However, according to new research done by a team of academics from Edith Cowan University, this is not the case. Foreign workers usually occupy a highly specialized position which cannot be filled by the local labour market. Therefore the general public perception that foreigners steal jobs from Australian citizens is wrong.
Australian Minister of Immigration Chris Bowen has stated that he expects the number of work opportunities available to foreign workers to grow, as several new resource projects are about to start in Central Queensland and Western Australia. He added that up until now only a few companies have applied for permission to hire foreigners for these new projects.
Mr Bowen explained that is relatively easy for the Australian Immigration Authorities to determine which projects will qualify. This, however, does not necessarily mean that it will be easy for each project to obtain permission.
According to the new Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMA) eligible projects must have at least 1500 workers and capital expenditure of at least 2 billion Australian dollars.
Furthermore, prospective companies must prove that they are unable to find an Australian citizen who has the necessary education, skills and experience in order to fill the position which will be offered to foreigners.
Chris Bowen is a firm supporter of EMA. He has recently allowed to Gina Reinhart to employ more than 1700 foreign workers for her AUD 9.5 billion Roy Hill mining project. He believes that the finishing of these projects is of crucial importance for the Australian Economy which justifies his decision to allow the import of workers from abroad